IZH MP532 target rifle: Part 8

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH MP532
IZH MP532 single stroke target rifle.

A history of airguns

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

This report covers:

  • The back story
  • Sights
  • First shot — ah HA!
  • Finale Match Heavy
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • Rear sight
  • Rear sight height
  • Rear sight folds forward!
  • Russians missed the mark
  • End of back story
  • Why the peep sight won’t adjust high enough
  • What’s next?
  • Summary

I have what I think is a great report for you today. I have listed it as a history article, but the application is universal. It will take a lot of back story introduction and I will have to keep things straight for you as we go. You may need a whole pot of coffee for this one!

The back story

Back in October, 2019 I reviewed two IZH 532 single-stroke pneumatic target air rifles for you. The report started with me thinking the rifles were only as accurate as a Daisy 853 and it ended with me shooting two of the smallest groups I have ever shot with any airgun at 10 meters. I think I have just discovered something major about one of the two rifles, and that is what this report is about. Yes, this is an historical report, but if I am right it applies to modern air rifles as well.

There is so much back story to tell that I will put everything that was written in 2019 in italics, so you can differentiate it from what I’m telling you today. As I introduced both rifles I shared their differences with you. I will be referring to the first rifle and the second rifle. It is the second rifle, which is ten years older than the first rifle, that is of interest for this series. Here we go.

Sights

The front sight of the 532 is a globe that accepts inserts. The first rifle I got had a single insert in the globe and it is the old-style metallic aperture. The second rifle came with no inserts but I was able to fit a 16mm Walther clear plastic aperture insert that reader Kevin recently sent me. It’s loose until the threaded sleeve is screwed tight, but then it locks up and stays in one place, which is all I need. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfectly centered because the rear sight adjusts for that.

532 front sight Walther insert
The older rifle had no front sight insert, so I installed a clear 16mm Walther aperture.

The rear sight is a target peep that Americans have panned over the years. They say it looks cheap compared to other 10-meter rear sights. Well, it is a little Spartan compared to other 10-meter target rifle sights, but it does everything they do, so who cares what it looks like? Beautiful is as beautiful does. Naturally I will have a lot more to say about the sights when I test the rifle(s) for accuracy. I think because I have two rifles I will test both of them. Why not?

While I was working with the first rifle to get it back in shape I decided to purchase a second one. This was an earlier rifle that didn’t have the box or anything else — just the rifle. I wanted this one in case the first one didn’t pan out for some reason. I don’t plan to keep it long, and from the response I saw to Part One I will have no trouble selling it when I am ready. There were three inquiries about the other two rifles I mentioned that are available, so this one will evaporate quickly. But I have it now so let’s see what it can do.

The second rifle was produced in 1997, making it 10 years older than the first rifle. I used the same warmup procedure (20 partial pumps to warm the pump cup) and a partial stroke before every pump stroke for each shot.

This rifle has a clear plastic aperture insert for the front sight, and I selected one that was only ever-so-slightly larger than the bullseye. It was very difficult to work with. If I shoot the rifle again I will swap it for an insert with a larger hole.

[Editor’s note: Right there I identified the problem I hope to resolve in this series, but I didn’t see it at the time.]

I decided to shoot only the three best pellets from the first rifle in rifle number two, which were H&N Finale Match Heavys, Hobbys and Qiang Yuan Training pellets. However, things never got that far.

First shot — ah HA!

The first shot with H&N Finale Match Heavys hit the target about 6 inches below the aim point. So I dialed in a lot of elevation into the peep and shot again. The sight adjusted up easily. Shot two was still below the target, so I cranked in a bunch more elevation — AND RAN OUT OF ADJUSTMENT! The adjustment knob suddenly stopped. It felt just like the one on rifle number one. OH! The rear sight on rifle number two was now adjusted as high as it will go and the rifle is still shooting too low! I’m learning. [But I wasn’t learning fast enough.]

Finale Match Heavy

Five Finale Match Heavy pellets hit the target about 1-1/2-inches below the aim point. They landed in an extremely vertical group that measures 0.429-inches between centers. I was almost certain the rifle was not responsible for the size of the group, and I also knew it wasn’t me. I thought it was the rear sight.

And then it happened. Everything became crystal clear and I know the problem. [I didn’t, really, but I thought I did.]

Qiang Yuan Training pellets

I then shot 5 Qiang Yuan Training pellets into another vertical group. Two shots are above three shots, with each “group” being small enough to hold a pellet by the tail. But 5 shots are in 0.445-inches. The only way this can happen is if the rear sight was moved while I shot. So I pushed on it and, sure enough, it moved. THAT WAS THE PROBLEM!

I had been creeping up on the rear peep, trying to get my eye as close as possible to the peephole, but in Part 2 the first rifle’s buttstock was adjusted so long that it was very difficult to get close to that sight. Sometimes I did and other times I didn’t. The butt on rifle two wasn’t adjusted, so I got close to the peep every time. If my glasses touched the peep hole disk they pushed it forward, moving the location of the hole and changing the impact point up or down.

No sense going any farther with today’s testing. I need to find out some things about the sights and what can be done to correct the situation.

Rear sight

I’m going to write a report about that rear sight because I have just discovered a lot about it — stuff I haven’t told you yet. First, the two rifles have different rear sights! And the differences are big and they matter! Next, how you sight the rifle makes all the difference in the world. With the first rifle, when I didn’t push my face forward, the sight remained upright and my groups were smaller. When I pushed my face forward I hit the sight and it folded forward and down. Now that I know that, I am sure I can shoot better groups.

I know the MP532 isn’t an air rifle many of you will ever even see, but there are some fundamental principles at work that apply to all airguns. So this stuff is worth learning.

rear sight 97 eyepiece
Here you can see how the rear sight attaches to the 532 receiver that swoops up to meet it. You can also see that both adjustment knobs are marked with Cyrillic letters.

rear sight 97 mount
In this view you can see the eyepiece that contains the peep hole is attached to a sheetmetal part that comes up from the sight and then folds over and goes down again. That sheetmetal part is attached solidly to the sight base and does not move.

Rear sight height

Those photos show the rear sight design that I have been scrutinizing for the past two weeks. I simply cannot see how it is possible for this sight to move higher than its highest adjustment permits, and in testing we learned that isn’t anywhere near high enough to hit the center of the bull! Sure, a plate placed under the bottom of the sight could lift it up, but I see no mention of such a plate in either manual.

A similar fix is possible if the front sight can be lowered. I know that the Russians are aware of that possibility because both the SKS and AK battle rifles have front sights that move up and down for elevation adjustments — similar to the American M16 front sight. But the front sight on the MP532 does not move. It is mounted solidly in place. And there is no plate in it to be removed to effect such an adjustment, either.

In short — there seems to be no way to adjust the MP532 sights high enough to get the pellets to strike the center of the bull at 10 meters. For a target rifle that is the kiss of death and I’m flabbergasted that the Russians built it that way!

[I believe there was and is a way for that sight to work, but at this point in 2019 I hadn’t found it yet.]

Rear sight folds forward!

Besides the elevation adjustment, another fundamental requirement for 10-meter target sights is that they never move. Once adjusted, you want them locked in concrete, so shot after shot can go to the same place. That’s kind of the whole point to target shooting! Well, the MP532 rear sight moves! In fact, it’s spring-loaded to move when pressed upon from the rear.

rear sight 97 folded
This is how far forward the rear sight folds when it’s pressed from the rear. Any movement of the rear sight can move the impact point of the pellet. This movement prohibits shooters from mounting rubber eyecups on the peep disk and pressing into them when sighting.

Ten-meter target shooters will immediately recognize the problem with the rear sight folding forward. They are used to putting a soft rubber cup on the disk of their rear peep and pressing into it when shooting. That cup blocks out all the light except for that which comes through the peep hole, and that makes for a sharper sight picture.

When I tested both rifles I tried to press into the rear sight for exactly that reason. I didn’t have a rubber cup but my glasses protected my eye from the peep disk. The newer rifle had its stock adjusted for the maximum pull length which made getting that far forward a problem, and that is probably why I shot the new rifle better than the older one.

If you don’t press and get close to the rear peep hole in the way I’m describing you are tempted to try to center the front sight inside the rear peep hole. That adds a huge amount of unnecessary work and complexity to sighting the rifle. Peep sights simply don’t work that way. You just peek through them like a knothole in the fence.

That was known way back in the 1870s, when the buffalo hunters killed millions of American bison at long ranges with rifles that recoiled a lot. They had leather cups instead of rubber on their rear peeps, and they understood quite well how peep sights work!

Russians missed the mark

As incredible as it sounds the Russians designed a target rifle that cannot possibly hit the target! I know I must be wrong and I am hoping Vladimir Unpronounceable will pop out of the woodwork and explain what I’m missing. Because, to say the Russians don’t know how to design a rifle is like saying the Swiss can’t make chocolate. It’s as if the Russians ran out of qualified gun designers when the 532 was created and substituted bakery workers instead!

End of back story

Okay, we are now back in 2021 and on with this series of what I hope is a major discovery. The older rifle we are discussing does have 11 mm dovetail grooves, and I mounted both a scope and a red dot sight to see how accurate the rifle really is. Rifle number one that I’m not discussing put five H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets into a group that measured 0.072-inches at 10 meters. That was with the peep sight it came with. Rifle number two, the rifle we are looking at in this series, put five of the same pellets into 0.083-inches at 10 meters when a dot sight was used. So that rifle is just as accurate as the first one. But why can’t it zero the peep sight that came on it?

Why the peep sight won’t adjust high enough

What I’m about to tell you happened this month — March of 2021 — fully 16 months after the last test of the second rifle. In fact it was just last week. I had the rifle sitting across the arms of a chair, out of the way so I could find and pack up all the airguns that I’m returning to Pyramyd Air. The other newer 532 was also out, and I was able to compare both of them. That is when I spotted it. The older rifle isn’t bedded properly! Let me show you.

532 rifles bedding comparison
The newer rifle is on top. The older rifle with the bedding problem is at the bottom.

new rifle bedding
The newer rifle is bedded until the barrel is close to the forearm of the stock.

532 old rifle bedding
The barrel on the older rifle is up from the forearm quite a bit.

Given the bedding problem of the older rifle with the barrel pointed upward, the older rifle has to be pointed down to see through the aperture of the front sight. Since the aperture is a hole, you don’t notice that it is on a slight downward angle. It still looks round when you see it through the peep sight. I believe this is the reason the rear sight cannot be adjusted high enough to compensate.

Do you remember earlier in this report that I mentioned that the front aperture was difficult to see through? It was difficult because the hole through the clear aperture wasn’t being seen straight on — it was at a slight downward angle. I believe that the bedding issue is why it appeared that way.

What’s next?

The barreled action needs to be properly bedded. Then the rifle needs to be shot again to see if the bedding was why the rear sight could not be adjusted high enough. So here is my plan.

I will shoot a 5-shot group with H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets with the rifle as it is now, so we can see where it impacts the target at 10 meters. Then I will relieve the bedding so the barreled action sits down in the stock like rifle number one. Then I will shoot a second group of five H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets to see where they impact the target. I’m thinking of shooting at the same bull for both groups. That should demonstrate the affect the bedding had on the height of the two groups. This will be a before and after test. I’m not interested in how small the groups are — just where they land on the target.

Summary

Today’s report was about a revelation that opened my mind! If I am right about the peep sight adjustment problem being caused by poor bedding, then it applies to every air rifle with similar sights. Very few rifles are bedded like the 532 so this isn’t the solution to all sighting problems, but it is unique and if I’m right it’s something we all need to know. If I’m not right then I’m giving you a running start at explaining to me why my theory is flawed


Diana 75/Beeman 400 recoilless target air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 75
The Diana 75.

Let’s make lemonade
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Three groups
  • Taped the targets
  • Hand-held
  • Follow-through
  • Glasses
  • First group — H&N Finale Match Light
  • Group two — RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • A secret
  • Head sizes and groups
  • Group three — Vogle Match pellets
  • Velocity?
  • Why?
  • Another accuracy test

Today we revisit the Diana 75/Beeman 400 for a very special reason. You readers thought the rifle didn’t perform up to expectations last time in the accuracy test, and neither did I. So I took every one of your recommendations and applied them today.

Three groups

I only have three 5-shot groups to show you from today’s test. I shot them with the two pellets that did the best in the last test, plus one pellet that I thought might be on the fence. I shot from 10 meters and I’ll tell you the rest as we go. Much of what I will say in this report is for me, for the next time I shoot this rifle.

Taped the targets

To keep the targets from tearing I put tape on their backs. I used aluminum foil tape like Hank recommended on some of the bulls and a white form of duct tape on the rest. The aluminum tape tore the target paper around the edges of each hole and was not as clean as the white duct tape, so next time the white tape is what I’ll use. Just cover the back of each bull and that’s it.

Hand-held

Someone, I don’t know who, recommended holding the rifle tight to the shoulder. He said the Giss contra-recoil system does not like to be rested directly on a bag. Maybe that was a comment to the Diana 10/Beeman 900 pistol that I tested awhile back. Either way, today I rested the forearm on the flat palm of my off hand that was resting on the sandbag. I did not grip the forearm with my fingers. I also pulled the butt firmly into my shoulder and my right hand gripped the pistol grip of the stock firmly.

Follow-through

Another person said my groups last time looked like I wasn’t following through. I had to agree with him. I made a concerted effort to follow through on every shot this time.

Glasses

Instead of the 1.25-diopter reading glasses that I would normally use, I wore my regular glasses today. My vision is 20-25, corrected to 20-20 by my glasses. The front sight diopter was clear and I was able to center the bull precisely.

Okay, that’s a lot of stuff done differently than last time. Last time the rifle was rested directly on the sandbag, the targets were not taped, I wore the reading glasses and I held the rifle in a classic artillery hold. I also agreed that I was probably not following through on every shot last time. So all the important stuff was changed today to conform to the comments made by you readers.

First group — H&N Finale Match Light

In the last test I thought that H&N Finale Match Light pellets did the best. When I measured the groups I discovered that a different pellet beat them, but I still had a very good feeling about this pellet. The best group with Finale Match Light last time was five in 0.186-inches between centers.

Today I put five Finale Match Light pellets into 0.14-inches between centers. That is a gold dollar group, because it’s smaller than 0.15-inches between centers. It’s also the best group of the day — or at least the best group that I will show you.

Finale light group
The Diana 75 put five H&N Finale Match Light pellets into a 0.14-inch group at 10 meters.

This group was high, so I adjusted the rear sight down 9 clicks. I can’t hear the clicks when I adjust, but the numbers on the scale tell me what I am doing.

Group two — RWS R10 Match Pistol

The next pellet I tried was the RWS R10 Match Pistol wadcutter. In the last test this pellet did the best, putting five into 0.162-inches at 10 meters. This time it didn’t group as tight, with five in 0.198-inches, but that’s still good enough for the silver trime (groups that are less than 0.20-inches between centers).

R10 Pistol group
The Diana 75 put five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets into a group that measures 0.198-inches between centers at 10 meters.

A secret

And now I’ll tell you a secret. I didn’t shoot just three groups this time. I shot four! The first group of R10 pellets that I haven’t shown measured a tight 0.121-inches between centers — BUT, there is also a lone shot that hit about a half-inch to the left of the group. I believe on the last target that I am about to show you I might have fired one of the five shots at the wrong bull and it was the flier I just mentioned with this first R10 group. I believe that, but I’m not sure. 

I looked at the small R10 group through the spotting scope after completing it and I didn’t see a hole off to its left, but when I collected the target there it was. And, on the next group you are about to see, I can only see what appear to be four holes. Also, the wild shot on the R10 bull would have grouped with the rest of these other pellets, had it been shot at the correct bull.

I’m not showing you that smaller R10 group because I don’t know for sure what happened. But I saw the small group clearly through the scope and I believe I would have also seen the stray hole if it had been there. Hey, guys — this is what happens in the real-world!

Head sizes and groups

Jerry Cupples and I had talked for a long time the day before about Pelletgage and I had pellet head sizes on my mind. I just bought 6,500 Vogel target pellets that came in a bulk pack. They can be any head size and I suspected this Diana 75 likes the larger sizes. So I checked the head sizes of both the Finale Match Light pellets and the R10 Match Pistol pellets. I didn’t sort them by head size — I only wanted to know what their general head sizes were in the tin, since they were the two most accurate pellets in this rifle.

Finale Match Light pellets had head sizes that ranged from 4.525 to 4.53mm and R10 Match Pistol pellet heads ranged from 4.515 to 4.525mm. I’m using a special Pelletgage that Jerry produced that goes down to the thousandth of a millimeter.

Then I hand-sorted 11 Vogle pellets with head sizes greater than 4.53mm. I know that is a larger head size than the other two pellets, but at the time I thought bigger was better in this rifle.

Group three — Vogle Match pellets

This group, which may only be 4 shots (it was backed by aluminum tape), measures 0.547-inches between centers at 10 meters. Clearly, and in comparison with the other two (or possibly three) groups, the Vogle is not the right pellet for the Diana 75 — at least not Vogels with heads larger than 4.53mm!

Vogel group
Either four or five Vogle pellets made this 0.547-inch group at 10 meters. I think the Diana 75 does not like pellets with a head size larger than 4.53mm, and it may not like Vogel pellets altogether.

Velocity?

Now I will address something several readers mentioned after they read the velocity test in Part Two. They wondered whether the new piston seal that Dave Slade installed in the rifle a few years ago was still breaking in. You may remember that the former owner of the rifle sold it to me knowing that the velocity was slow. Those readers who commented wondered whether the rifle might speed up as that new seal was used.

Well, between Parts 3 and today I have shot the rifle another 60 times since the velocity test was done. If there is some break-in happening we should start seeing it by now, I think. So I shot another string of 10 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets for velocity. 

The average for this pellet in Part 2 was 534 f.p.s. The low was 526 and the high was 543 f.p.s., so the spread was 17 f.p.s.

Today I oiled the piston seal with two drops of silicone chamber oil, then fired 9 shots to settle down the powerplant. When oil stopped spraying out on every shot, I started the chronograph. The average today was 545 f.p.s and the spread went from a low of 539 to a high of 551 f.p.s. — a difference of 12 f.p.s. After 60 shots since the last velocity test the average velocity for this pellet is up by 11 f.p.s. and the spread is down by 5 f.p.s. It’s a small difference but it does appear that the new piston seal could be breaking in. I plan to watch the velocity of this rifle over time and see how it develops.

Why?

Why did I run this extra accuracy and velocity test? I did it because in the future I want to pit this rifle against my FWB 300S that is the most accurate 10-meter rifle I own. I learned a lot today, and I have explained all of it to you in this report.

This rifle came to me with a test target group that measures 0.065-inches between centers. As far as I’m concerned, we have not yet seen performance of that level from this rifle. That means one of two things, or both. Either I haven’t yet found the right pellet for the rifle, or I haven’t yet found the right head size. I think the ideal head size for this rifle is around 4.52mm. Based on the smallest group of R10 pellets that I didn’t show you, the group that might measure 0.121-inches between centers if I’m right about the flier, the R10 may be the best pellet and 4.52mm may be the correct head size.

Diana-75-test-target
The test target that came with the Diana 75 is serial-numbered to the rifle. A group of five pellets are in 0.065-inches at 10 meters.

Another accuracy test

I see another accuracy test is in store for this rifle. I want it to do its very best when it faces my FWB 300S, because that rifle certainly will be doing the same.


Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

M1A
Springfield Armory M1A.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight in
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • Air Arms Diabolo Field Heavy
  • RWS Hobby
  • Accuracy with all pellets
  • H&N Sniper Magnum 
  • Discussion
  • Air Arms 10-shot group
  • Boxing the target
  • Summary

Today we begin looking at the accuracy of the Springfield Armory M1A underlever pellet rifle. Today I will shoot with the sights that came on the rifle. There is a lot to do so let’s get started.

The test

I shot the rifle off a rest from 10 meters. I used an artillery hold because this rifle is powerful and does move around when it fires. I shot 5-shot groups so I could test more pellets and do more tests, as you will see.

Sight in

It took nine shots to sight in the rifle. It was initially shooting low and to the left so I had to bring it up several inches and also about an inch to the right. The manual shows using a center hold on your target which is appropriate for shooting at personnel with a military rifle. This is a pellet version of a battle rifle after all. But for shooting at bullseye targets a 6 o’clock hold is far more precise. So that’s what I did.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy

The first pellet I tested was the 18.3-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. Five went into 0.417-inches at 10 meters. Not too shabby!

JSB Jumbo group
Five JSB Jumbo Heavy pellets went into this 0.417-inch group at 10 meters.

Air Arms Diabolo Field Heavy

The second pellet to be tested was the Air Arms Diabolo Field Heavy. Although it looks like the JSB I just shot and weighs pretty close to the same, this pellet usually performs much differently. And it did this time. The first shot of five went just to the right of center and below the 10-ring, but the succeeding four went into a 0.206-inch group to the left of that. All five shots are in a 0.469-inch group.

Although this group is larger than the first one, those last four shots convinced me that this pellet is more accurate than the JSB.

M1A AA group
Five Air Arms Heavy domes went into 0.469-inches at 10 meters, with 4 in 0.206-inches.

RWS Hobby

The third pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. Although I didn’t adjust the sights, these pellets landed almost one inch higher on target at 10 meters. Five Hobbys went into 0.414-inches at 10 meters. And that result leads me to state something that should be obvious by this time.

M1A Hobby group
Five RWS Hobbys went into this 0.414-inch group at 10 meters.

Accuracy with all pellets

The thing you should have noticed it that all these pellets are giving similar results. The M1A is accurate and it seems not to matter much which pellet is used. Let’s look at one more pellet before we move on.

H&N Sniper Magnum 

The last pellet I will test is the 18-grain Sniper Magnum dome from H&N. It went to almost the same place as the other two 18-grain pellets and five of these landed in a group that measures 0.469-inches between centers. You see? All four of these pellets are performing about the same. This M1A is both accurate and consistent.

M1A Sniper group
Five H&N Sniper Magnum pellets made this 0.469-inch group at 10 meters.

Discussion

I was hoping the M1A would be accurate, and it is. Even though it is a replica battle rifle, it is also a tremendous value in a spring-piston pellet rifle. Yes the shooter will have to accept the envelope of the M14 rifle, but hidden inside is the best springer value on the market!

But there is more to test today. I selected the pellet I thought to be the most accurate and shot ten of them at another target.

Air Arms 10-shot group

This time I adjusted the rear peep up three clicks and shot 10 Air Arms Diabolo Field Heavy domes. They went into 0.741-inches at 10 meters. 

M1A AA 10-shot group
After adjusting the peep sight up three clicks 10 Air Arms Heavy domes went into 0.741-inches at 10 meters.

Boxing the target

I told you in Part 3 that I was going to do this, and, given the results, I’m glad I did. Boxing the target means adjusting the rear sight in a precise way to see whether it moves the groups by the same amount every time.

Boxing the target means shooting five groups. By adjusting the rear sight after each group, you make 4 groups in a square or box pattern. You walk the groups around the corners of a box. The last group lands on top of the first.

M1A boxing target
This is how a target should look if the rear sight adjusts perfectly every time when the target is boxed.

The first time I tried to box the target with the M1A the elevation worked fine but the windage adjustment didn’t. It was apparently adjusted as far to the right as it would go. What I got was two groups, one high and the other low.

On the second try I moved the windage adjustment to the left and I got success on the lower groups but not on the high ones. Here is what the target looked like. These are three-shot groups, but the higher group has three times three shots.

M1A BOXED TARGET
The M1A sight adjusted well when the rear sight was lowered but when it was set high the groups printed together. There are 9 pellets in the top group.

What does this mean? It means the rear peep on this M1A pellet rifle isn’t as precise when the sight goes too high or too far to the right. The sight does adjust — just not with the precision of other peep sights when you get to the end of its adjustment range. It’s not a fatal flaw but it is one to bear in mind.

Summary

The M1A is accurate — today’s test demonstrates that. The peep sight becomes less precise when it gets near its limits of elevation or right adjustment.

So far the M1A shows good power, good accuracy and a nice, useable trigger. The next step will be to mount an optical sight on the scope base and see what happens.


Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

M1A
Springfield Armory M1A.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Firing behavior
  • Loading
  • Sights
  • Sight history
  • Front sight
  • Cocking effort
  • Operating rod handle is for show
  • Scope base
  • Summary

There was lots of interest in the new Springfield Armory M1A rifle. It’s a nice-looking lookalike. It’s a decently powerful springer. It’s an underlever, and yes, there are folks who like that feature over all the others. It has other features that I’ll get into today, Like I said at the end of Part 1, velocity testing will have to wait for Part 3.

The trigger

The trigger is two-stage and not adjustable. There are no screws in sight when you peer deep inside. Stage one on the rifle I’m testing is heavy and a bit creepy. Stage two is hard to feel, with the result that at present the trigger feels like a light single-stage trigger. I think as the rifle breaks in the first and second stages will become more distinct.

M1A trigger
The trigger blade is bare, without any adjustment.

The trigger pull is 3 lbs. 9 oz. for stage one and 4 lbs. for stage two. That’s how close the two are. I think many will see this as a single-stage trigger. Stage two is very crisp and positive.

By the end of today’s examination I was already feeling a distinct separation between trigger stages one and two. I probably fired a dozen shots today, just getting familiar with the rifle, and no more than 20 from when it came out of the box.

Firing behavior

The rifle fires with a slight shudder from the mainspring. It isn’t offensive and doesn’t need quieting, in my opinion.

Loading

Today while I cocked the rifle I watched the place that opens for loading and could see the sliding compression chamber move quickly to the rear to compress the mainspring as the upper handguard slides to the front to reveal the loading port. I stress again that the area for loading is small and may not suit all people.

M1A port opening
As the underlever is pulled down the upper handguard slides forward and the sliding compression chamber goes to the rear.

M1A loading port
When it’s all the way open the M1A loading port is small.

Sights

Now we come to the most interesting feature of all — the sights! The sights on an M1 Garand and an M14 are the most pleasant sights to use of all those on any battle rifle, in my opinion. And you get a set just like them on the M1A airgun.

They are a peep sight in the rear that adjusts for both windage and elevation. I was going to report that the adjustments felt mushy, but that was before I noticed the screw on the right side. When it was checked with a screwdriver it was not quite tight and tightening it snug rendered both adjustments clearer and crisper. It’s just past finger-tight, so don’t crank on it. When I do the accuracy test I plan to do a special “boxing” of the sights to see how well these adjustments really work. I will explain what boxing means when I get to that report.

M1A rear sight
The rear sight on the M1A pellet rifle adjusts in both directions — just like on the firearm.

M1A rear sight screw
Tighten this one screw that looks like a nut on the right adjustment knob and both sight adjustments get crisper.

Sight history

The M1 Garand went through many different designs of rear sights. The Lock Bar type that was used throughout World War II had a locking bar on the outside of the right side adjustment knob that controls elevation. After the war the bar was eliminated and the adjustment became just a knob. 

When the M14 came along the sights continued to refine. The Army liked this type of sight and only changed when necessary due to the different design and construction of the M16.

The one drawback I find with the pellet rifle rear sight is there are no directions on the adjustment knobs. You have to remember that for the elevation knob on the left side, turning counter-clockwise raises the peep and therefore the impact of the pellet. Turn the windage adjustment clockwise to move the peep and the pellet impact to the right.

Front sight

Most American battle rifles have front sights that are protected from damage by “ears” on either side of the central post or blade. On the M1A the center is a blade. The manual shows to hold the front blade with its tip centered on the target, which is correct by the military manual. I shoot at black bullseyes, though, and a 6 o’clock hold is easier to hold precisely.

M1A front sight
The front sight is a blade, protected by a “ear” on either side.

Two more things to know about the front sight. It appears to be on a dovetail and can thus be tapped left and right for more windage correction. This is just an illusion given by the very detailed casting. The sight does not move in the dovetail.

The second thing is a problem with all front sights that have ears. Make darned sure when you sight on something that it is the front post you are holding on the target and not one of the ears. The peephole is small and it’s easy to make a mistake. The ears are bent out to either side to help you identify them through the peep.

I will say that the pull of this M1A is just 13-1/4-inches. That allows me to get far enough forward that I can see the entire front sight assembly through the peep hole.

That “thing” in front of the front sight is a replica flash hider. The real flash hider has slots that allow hot gas to escape out the sides as the bullet is exiting the muzzle. It hides the flash from the shooter in low light, to preserve his night vision.

Cocking effort

With the cocking handle extended on the underlever I measured the cocking effort as exactly 35 pounds on my bathroom scale. That’s what the description on the Pyramyd Air website says it should be. The underlever extension is an important feature that you want to use if you plan on doing a lot of shooting.

Operating rod handle is for show

The curved handle of the operating rod, or what many would call the cocking handle on the right side of the receiver is for show, only. It is spring-loaded to slide back and forth but it does nothing for the rifle.

M1A operating handle
The operating handle can be pulled back and will spring forward again, but it is non-functional.

Scope base

One last surprise today — the scope base. In Part One I said the rifle comes with the scope base, but a reader corrected me. The scope base is something you have to order separately. At this time it is called the M14 scope base and this M1A isn’t listed on the description page as a rifle that it fits, but it does. I mounted it to the left side of the receiver in about 5 minutes.

M1A scope base
The M14 scope base fits the Springfield Armory M1A pellet rifle.

Summary

That’s all for today. Next time we test the velocity and the time after that we start testing accuracy! Stay tuned!


Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

M1A
Springfield Armory M1A.

This report covers:

  • What is the  M14?
  • M14 magazine 
  • M1A
  • The pellet rifle
  • Underlever
  • Cocking and the safety
  • Safety is manual
  • Loading
  • Summary

The Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle is here! This is the air rifle many of you have been waiting for, and mine just arrived. Let’s take a look.

What is the  M14?

The M14 is a U.S. battle rifle that was the primary personal rifle from 1958 until 1968. It was the successor to the M1 Garand (U.S. Rifle caliber .30 M1) that was the U.S. battle rifle from 1936 until being replaced by the M14 in March of 1958. Where the Garand was semiautomatic only, the M14 was made to be a select-fire rifle, though not that many of them were ever set up that way. It took some training and skill to control the rifle in the full-auto mode, because the recoil of the 7.62X51 mm cartridge was substantial. Because of the rifle’s look many assumed it was another BAR, but at only half the weight, it wasn’t.

It just so happens that old B.B. Pelletier qualified expert on the M14, which gave him the opportunity to qualify (expert again, mostly due to luck) on the brand-new M16. Most M16s and their ammo were being sent to Vietnam in 1968 when I qualified in basic training at ROTC summer camp in Fort Lewis, Washington. They had limited rifles and ammo, so only those who qualified expert with the M14 got to qualify with the M16.

From that experience I can tell you this — the M14 was a real battle rifle. The M16 that I shot was an underdeveloped toy — at least at that time! Time and further development have turned the M16 platform into a proven battle rifle, BUT — the M14 lingers on in U.S. military service as a special rifle when certain things are required. Its 7.62X51 mm round (military version of the .308 Winchester) hits harder and more accurately at longer ranges than the 5.56 mm round of the M16.

M14 magazine 

The biggest difference between the Garand and the M14 was the M14’s 20-round magazine. The Garand has an 8-shot magazine that’s built into the rifle. It is very difficult to add cartridges to that mag while it’s still loaded. When the last round is ejected the en bloc clip — a steel spring that holds the eight .30-06 rounds together, also comes out of the rifle with a distinctive ping. There is a rumor that the enemy would wait to hear the ping and then attack, knowing that the soldier was reloading, but that was just a myth. Nobody could hear that ping in the noise of combat unless there were extraordinary circumstances.

The M14’s 20-round magazine can be removed at any time and topped off. Or leave it in the rifle and load it with stripper clips that connect to the top of the rifle’s receiver, similar to the way the K98 Mauser rifle is loaded. Either way it’s far easier to top off an M14 than reload the Garand. Oldtimers can tell the difference between the Garand and the M14 by the magazine of the latter that hangs down.

M1A

So why is there an M1A? It’s because American civilians cannot own fully automatic weapons without going through special legal procedures and I’m not certain that an M14 ever qualified for those. Since any M14 could potentially be converted to full auto, it was a special case that had to be dealt with individually. To satisfy the need for a civilian rifle to compete in military matches, the M1A was born. It’s almost identical to the M14, except it cannot receive the parts to make it full auto without modifications.

The M1A pellet rifle

And that background brings us to today’s topic, the Springfield Armory M1A Underlever Pellet Rifle. It is licensed by Springfield Armory, but it was developed under joint cooperation with the folks at Air Venturi. Springfield Armory is the company that brought the M1A to the world in 1974.

Springfield Armory offers the full-sized M1A firearm with a walnut stock. And that is the first difference knowledgeable shooters will notice about the pellet rifle. The stock on this underlever is made from some kind of Asian hardwood that resembles beech. The finish is a very matte dark brown. The upper handguard is a brown synthetic that resembles the fiberglass handguard on the firearm.

Underlever

This is an underlever air rifle, and no, it’s not a reskinned Diana 460 Magnum. You would never get it for a retail of $200 if it was. It’s similar to the Diana in several ways because both rifles are underlevers, but it’s also far from a direct copy.

M1A underlever
The underlever pulls down and back to cock the rifle and open the loading port. Note that the upper handguard slides forward to expose the loading port.

This rifle comes in both .177 and .22 calibers. I asked to test the .22 because of the power output (1,000 f.p.s. in .177 and 800 f.p.s. in .22), as well as for easier loading. More on that in a bit.

I sat in on a design discussion with Air Venturi at the SHOT Show this year. The rifle was almost complete, but I was asked for my input.  I have to admit I was blown away by the realism of the rifle! I was told they wanted to keep the retail price at $200, so the folding metal buttplate that is so characteristic of an M14 was not an option. It looks like the buttplate on this rifle folds, but it doesn’t. Shooters unfamiliar with the M14 won’t miss it, and there are more of them around than us old silverbacks. There is a rubber pad on the butt to keep the rifle firmly on your shoulder.

The underlever has an extension rod that pulls out to increase the leverage. And, what is so neat is you can leave it pulled out because the designers made the extension fit into the bottom of the muzzle brake/front sight assembly when the lever is stored.

M1A lever in
The cocking lever can be pushed in like this.

M1A lever out
… or it can be extended and still used and stored that way. Genius!

Cocking and the safety

The M1A cocks with 35 lbs. of effort, according to the description. You know I will check that for you. I do use the extended lever to cock the rifle.

But there is more to cocking. I test-fired the rifle the first time and it shot well. But it wouldn’t cock for me on the next try. I tried it many times. Each time I felt the sear slipping off as I relaxed pressure on the cocking lever. This was confusing until I looked at the safety. It works in the reverse direction of an M1A, M14 or M1 Garand safety. Pull it back into the triggerguard to make the rifle ready to fire and push it forward through the triggerguard to make the rifle safe. I had been working it backwards! And that was apparently what kept the rifle from cocking.

M1A safety
The M1A pellet rifle safety works in the reverse direction of the M1A firearm safety. Push the safety back into the triggerguard to make the rifle ready to fire and forward to make it safe.

Once I cycled the safety on and off again several times and then pulled it back towards  the trigger to make the rifle ready to fire, the cocking problem was gone. I tell you this in case anyone who is familiar with an M1A, Garand or M14 makes the same mistake.

Safety is manual

The safety is manual. It stays where it’s put until you move it. And that’s the way we like it! Let the shooter be responsible for his own safety. With the cocking effort it’s unlikely that a child will cock this rifle. So long as the shooter has been trained in proper gun handling techniques and practices them, everything should be fine.

Loading

When the rifle is cocked the upper handguard slides forward to expose the loading port. I have normal-sized hands for an adult and I find this rifle somewhat difficult to load. The trick is to balance it on your knee or on a table with the muzzle pointing straight up. The pellet can then be balanced on your thumb for loading. It isn’t perfect, but you soon grow accustomed to it. I suspect that loading will be more difficult for people with sausage fingers.

M1A loading port
The upper handguard slides forward as the rifle is cocked. This exposes the loading port.

Summary

I will end this report here but there is much more introduction to come in part 2. At that time I will discuss and show the sights, the scope mount that comes with the rifle, the trigger and more details about this fascinating new spring-piston air rifle. We will start testing velocity in part 3.

The Springfield Armory M1A pellet rifle is many things. It’s a lookalike airgun. It’s a spring-piston rifle that’s hopefully very accurate. It has good power so it can be used for some hunting. It has adjustable sights plus a scope mount. And all of this comes to you at a fantastic price! With the holidays coming I would watch this blog and perhaps put this one on my short list!


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.

I had to adjust the top hat to give a reasonable number of good shots, and all of that was covered in Parts 3 and 4 of the report on the target rifle. I got the rifle to deliver 69 good shots while the regulator was still functioning and the total velocity spread for the 7-grain baseline pellet was 25 f.p.s. over all those shots. That is how the rifle is tuned for today’s test.

The test

Today I shot 5 shots per target with each pellet from a rest at 10 meters. I shot with the aftermarket silencer installed, and that is something I will need to remove for the next test. Then we will see whether a silencer can be used, for the Edge is not a quiet air rifle without it — maybe a 3.7 or 3.8 on the 5-point Pyramyd Air scale.

Adjusting the sights

Before I start testing accuracy I want to show you how I adjusted the rear peep sight during sight-in. Remember — this rifle was pushing close to 12 foot-pounds in its last tune, so I didn’t expect the sights to be anywhere near where they should be. And they weren’t

The Edge peep sight is made just as fine as any German or Austrian world-class target sight, yet it sells for a small fraction of what they cost. And it has something no other world-class target sight has — a second elevation adjustment for gross changes. I needed them when sighting in the new target Edge. Not only does the sight have conventional fine click detents for precision adjustment — it also is mounted on a post that allows the shooter to move the entire sight unit into the correct range for every application. This is a 10-meter sight you can mount on almost any air rifle and get it to work!

Edge sight 1
As it was set up, the Edge rear sight was adjusted too high for the target rifle. Note the white dot in reference to the scale on the post.

Edge sight 2
Dropping the sight down one index line proved too much.

When I tried to sight in the first time with RWS R10 pistol pellets I discovered the rear sight was set too high. The internal click adjustments would not lower the pellet’s impact far enough. I dropped the rear sight one index line down and tried again. Now the sight was too low.

Edge sight target 1
The first sight setting was too high and the click adjustments would not lower the pellet impact far enough. The second sight setting was too low and the reverse happened.

After the first adjustment it seemed to me that the rear sight needed to be almost as high on the post as at the start, but not quite.

Edge sight 3
This is where I moved the rear sight.

Edge sight target 2
And this is where the pellet hit. Sight-in is over! I don’t remember when that additional shot was fired  — the one that’s below this one and in the bull.

RWS R10 Pistol

Since I sighted in with R10 Pistol pellets, I also shot the first group with them. Five went into 0.25-inches at 10 meters. That’s not bad, but it’s large for a 10-meter rifle.

Edge sight R10 group
Five R10 Pistol pellets went into a 0.25-inch group at 10 meters.

Gamo Match

Next up were five Gamo Match pellets. Remember how well they did in the Haenel 311? In the Edge, however, they did not do well at all. Five went into 0.824-inches at 10 meters. There were no called pulls.

Edge Gamo Match group
Five Gamo Match pellets made a 0.824-inch group at 10 meters. They are not right for the Edge!

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets were confusing. Four went into a tight .116-inch group and then the 5th one opened it to 0.311-inches. I didn’t call a pulled shot, but I would bet that it was me rather than the rifle that opened this group. It means that I will probably give them another try in the next test.

Edge Sig Match group
Five Sig Match pellets went into 0.311-inches.

H&N Finale Match Light

Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets made a 0.339-inch group at 10 meters. I think they are not the best for this rifle.

Edge Finale Match groupLight
Five Finale Match Light pellets went into 0.339-inches at 10 meters. They aren’t the best for the Edge.

Qiang Yuan Training 

The Qiang Yuan Training pellet made the best 5-shot group of the test. This is a real 10-meter target rifle group! Five shots are grouped in 0.161-inches between centers.

Chinese training group
Five Qiang Yuan Training pellets made the best group of the test. It measures 0.161-inches between centers and earns the trime! Just a little better and it would get the gold dollar.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

The next pellet I tested was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellet. Five went into 0.223-inches at 10 meters. This will be a pellet I test again in the Edge.

Meisterkugeln Riofle grou
Five RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets went into 0.223-inches at 10 meters. This is a pellet worth testing further.

JSB Match S100 

Next I fired 5 JSB Match S100 target pellets. These come in varying head sizes, and the ones I shot are labeled 4.52mm. The group measures 0.326-inches between centers, which rules out this pellet for the Edge.

JSB S100 group
Five JSB Match S100  pellets made a 0.326-inch group at 10 meters. Not a pellet for the Edge.

Qiang Yuan Olympic

The last pellet I tested was the Qiang Yuan Olympic pellet. Five of them went into 0.218-inches between centers which makes them second best overall and puts them into the group of pellets I will shoot in the next test. I find it interesting that of all eight pellets tested, the two Qiang Yuan pellets ranked first and second in this rifle.

Chinese Olympic group
Five Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets went into 0.218-inches at 10 meters. This is another good pellet for the Edge, as it produced the second smallest group of this test.

More testing to come

Not only do I intend testing the Edge without the silencer, there is also another procedure that has recently shown some promise. Ton Jones found that when he deep-seated the pellets (1/8-inch into the barrel) their accuracy improved. I plan to try that when I shoot with the silencer removed, because that test will have a smaller selection of pellets to be tested.

Summary

I think we will see an increase in accuracy when the silencer is out of the gun. When I tested Edges in 2009 I saw groups as small as one-tenth inch at 10 meters. I hope to see that again.

And then when this test is finished I will start testing Crosman’s Challenger PCP. That should be a straightforward three-part test because the Challenger doesn’t have the same flexible design as the Edge. There are not so many things to test. But it is an accurate airgun and that test will be just as methodical.


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.

I am still getting used to the electric bike, so I’m staying in my housing development. While riding on Monday I came to an intersection where I had a stop sign and there was a truck coming on my left who had the right-of-way. So I came to a complete stop — something that rarely happens. I put my left foot out to balance the bike because when I’m on the saddle neither foot reaches the ground. But I was so high up that my foot hit the ground at a place where I couldn’t balance the bike. This bike weighs a total of 63 lbs. has a heavy battery that’s mounted up high. A lot of the bike’s weight is above the axels. My other bike weighs 26 lbs. and is better balanced. 

I simply went over on my left side and hit the pavement with my hip. The truck driver stopped and got out to ask if I was okay. Naturally I was embarrassed and probably also full of adrenalin, so I said yes. I thought I had just been silly and nothing more. I picked myself up, righted the bike and rode a couple hundred yards home. About an hour later the pain set in and after three hours it was unbearable, so my neighbor drove me to a nearby clinic. They thought the hip was broken from my occasional screams when the left leg was moved, but after an X-Ray and a very thorough CAT-Scan they pronounced me whole.

I am getting around the house with a walker and everything I do now takes me four times longer. But I thought about it while resting yesterday and today’s blog should be relatively easy to do. It’s not what I had planned, but at least I’m back at the keyboard.

Please don’t worry about me. I have a splendid support system. Friends came and stayed with me after I got home from the hospital — one of them spent the night, in case I neexed aything. And my neighbors made me dinner Tuesday and again last night. So BB is on the mend!

Today’s test

The easiest test I can do, and not move around a lot is the velocity test of the AirForce Edge. My plan for this test was to finish testing the velocity and shot count, after adjusting the top hat up higher than where Ton Jones had recommended.  I also wanted to shoot some targets in this test. But that won’t be possible today. Setting up my indoor range takes too much stuff that I can’t really carry well while walking with a walker. So it’s just the additional velocity test for today.

Start the test

I actually started this test at the end of Part 3. That was where I adjusted the top hat up one full additional turn and shot a string of 10 RWS Basics that averaged 575 f.p.s., though I did throw out the first shot  because it was taken 30 minutes after the rifle was filled. The next ten shots that I accepted only varied by 8 f.p.s. across the string. The remarkable thing about that, and the reason I am doing today’s additional velocity test, was that the string happened right after I filled the gun’s reservoir to 3,000 f.p.s. In Part 3 when I did the same thing Basic pellets averaged 534 f.p.s. with a 28 f.p.s. spread. And you’ll remember that there were 62 powerful shots remaining in that test, after the Edge had fired 106 useful shots. That’s too many powerful shots left over. The gun was wasting air the way I had set it up. I’m hoping I have gotten it closer to an ideal setting today.

I told you that the first shot with this rifle is always faster after a prolonged wait. So, I threw it out in that first string. That shot would get used in the sight-in for a match anyway, so it’s no problem.

Finale Match Light

The second pellet I tested, which was the first pellet I fired today, was the 7.87-grain H&N Finale Match Light. In the current tune 10 shots averaged 552 f.p.s. The velocity spread went from 548 to 556 of the shots that counted, so a difference of 8 f.p.s. The rifle had been sitting silent for many days since I wrote Part 3, so again I threw out the first shot that went 563 f.p.s. There was also a shot in the string that failed to record, so to get 10 good shots in this string I fired 12.

In the previous tune this same pellet averaged 523 f.p.s. with a spread of 30 f.p.s. It’s clear the valve is performing much better now.

R10 Match Pistol

Next up were 10 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. Because the rifle was now in use, the first shot of this string did not have to be disregarded. The average for ten shots was 579 f.p.s. with an 8 f.p.s. spread that went from 574 to 582 f.p.s.

Previously this same R10 Match Pistol pellet averaged 554 f.p.s. the spread went from 539 to 567 for a difference of 28 f.p.s.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

With the current top hat setting Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets averaged 650 f.p.s. with an 8 f.p.s. spread from 646 to 654 f.p.s.

With the previous setting the same pellet averaged 634 f.p.s. and the spread went from 621 to 642 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 21 f.p.s.

Discussion 1

The performance of the Edge is now much more uniform. All four pellets only varied by 8 f.p.s. through their 10-shot strings. Now, if I can get a decent shot string from the rifle, I will be very pleased.

Back to the Basics

To finish the test I went back to the RWS Basic pellet again. This will determine the useful shot count for this top hat setting. At this point in the test I had already fired 43 shots because I threw out the first shot with Basics and in the string of Finale Match Lights I dismissed the first shot, and there was one other shot that didn’t register. So the first shot with Basics this time was number 44. 

This string averaged 558 f.p.s., so it’s 17 f.p.s slower than the first string. The spread went from 554 to 565, which is a difference of 11 f.p.s. We now have fired 53 shots.

The next string of Basics averaged 564 f.p.s. The low was 561 and the high was 573 f.p.s., for a difference of 12 f.p.s. And now there are 63 shots on the fill.

I’m not going to give you the average for the next string of Basics because the rifle went off the regulator at shot number 70. Therefore there were a total of 69 good shots from one fill on this setting of the top hat. Compare that to the 106 shots I got in the previous test. I had expected something like this. But let’s now look at the final shots that are off the reg.

Shot…..Avg.
70…….590 Fell off the regulator
71…….588
72…….608
73…….615
74…….608
75…….607
76…….604
77…….590
78…….600
79…….596
80…….594
81…….592
82…….590
83…….582
84…….579
85…….560
86…….566
87…….556
88…….555
89…….547
90…….544
91…….538
92…….534
93…….530
94…….518 Stop

A lot fewer shots remained after the regulator stopped working this time than last time — 25 shots remained in this test compared to 68 shots remaining until the air was exhausted to the point that the velocity for both tests dropped under 520 f.p.s.

Discussion 2

I think with further adjustment of the top hat that even fewer shots will remain when the rifle falls off the regulator. To get there I think the top hat needs to be turned down a small amount — perhaps a quarter turn.

On the other hand, there are more than 60 good shots per fill at the current setting. Looking at today’s data I see 69 good shots with Basics. Taking the average of the three strings I was able to record, I get an average of 566 f.p.s. for the 7-grain Basic pellet. The low was 554 and the high was 579 — a difference of 25 f.p.s. That’s better than last time and I think I can tweak it to be even better. But I won’t. Instead I will proceed to the first accuracy test with the top hat set where it is, and I will shoot no more than 60 shots per fill.

Summary

Adjusting the Edge top hat the way Ton Jones tells us is one of the bigger secrets of successfully managing the rifle. Another big one is to use two of the metric 007 o-rings around the valve stem under the top hat. That seems to save a lot of air, though I may discover by tweaking the top hat more that I can save even a little more air. Time will tell, but accuracy comes next.