AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Edge
AirForce Edge.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 1 of this series


A history of airguns


This report covers:

  • Edge production
  • Edge valve
  • Edge owners
  • The test
  • Test strategy
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS Basic
  • How fast is the regulator?
  • Shot count
  • Discussion
  • Trigger pull
  • Discharge sound
  • Summary

Today I will be shooting the AirForce Edge as a 10 meter target rifle for the first time since 2010. And this one is my own rifle! I have a lot to tell you.

Edge production

When the Texan took off in sales recently,  AirForce struggled to meet the worldwide demand and Edge production was set to the side. When you have solid orders for a thousand guns you have to address that before making 25 of another model.

That time gave AirForce a chance to think. The Edge has not been a high volume seller for them — partly because once a team or individual owns one it lasts forever and the demand goes away. And also partly because of the cost. A buyer has to be serious to spend the kind of money that an Edge sells for. Ironically the Texan that is outselling it costs even more, but those sales are too hot to ignore. Big bore airguns are the hot ticket everywhere and ever since the Texan came out this year in .50 caliber at 800+ foot-pounds they can’t make them fast enough.

But those Edge orders had to be filled, regardless of how many there are! So AirForce manufactured all the parts and had them finished, getting ready for a production run. Then they set aside a solid week for assembly and testing, because the Edge has several things that have to be hand-set as it is completed. This was happening just as I was getting ready to write this new series, so I started paying attention to what AirForce was doing.

In 2010 the big concern for the Edge was the shot count, so the Edges were adjusted to shoot 7-grain pellets at around 500 f.p.s. That gave them well over 100 shots per fill. A men’s match is 60 shots and a woman’s match is 40 shots. The Edge was designed so the shooter could go to the line with a single tank and have enough air for all the sighters, plus a full match.

But in reality, Junior Marksmanship matches aren’t run that way. After the sighters, shooters are allow to top off their airguns with air. So the need for 100 continuous shots on a fill isn’t there. Crosman also recognized this and makes their Challenger PCP get about 70 shots per fill at 530 f.p.s with a 7.9-grain pellet.

The new Edges that were just built were therefore set up to shoot medium-weight target pellets at velocities in the 525 to 540 f.p.s. region. Achieving that is a combination of adjusting the valve return spring strength, the air regulator and the length of the valve stem travel — which has to do with the top hat. Let me show you.

Edge top hat
The new Edge top hat has two small o-rings underneath to cushion the hammer blow. This limits the opening (stem travel) of the valve.

Edge valve

The photo above shows the Edge valve as it is now being shipped. Years ago there may have been just a single o-ring under the top hat, but there have been two for many years. The point is — the distance that the top hat, which is the end of the valve stem, can travel determines how long the valve remains open and the amount of air that can pass through to get behind the pellet. This is one part of how the Edge controls the air it uses for each shot.

Ton Jones worked on my Edge valve and regulator setup. He asked me what sort of velocity I wanted. I knew he was testing with 7.33-grain JSB Exact RS pellets, so I told him 550 f.p.s. would be a good velocity. Naturally with other pellets that velocity will change, and, since I don’t yet know what target pellet this Edge likes best, my number was just a guess. But Ton gave me the chance to choose.

To get the highest practical velocity from an Edge valve, adjust the top hat out until the bolt just makes contact with it as it closes. There are two small Allen screws on the periphery of the top hat that snug it to the valve stem. Loosen both of them to make adjustments. Screw the top hat in or out to make it lower or higher.

I thought I would only get about 45-60 full-power shots at 550 f.p.s., but Ton thought the number would be 80 or even 90 per fill. I will test that for you in this report.

Edge owners

If you own an Edge that you would like to speed up a little, this is how it’s done. Make very small adjustments in the top hat because the Edge valve is very sensitive.

The test

Let’s get the test started. I used RWS Basic pellets for the baseline, because I don’t want to waste the more expensive target pellets. Basics weigh 7 grains and provide a good baseline for the Edge.

I filled the reservoir to exactly 3,000 psi and started shooting. The first string of 11 shots was not a string to get the average velocity. It was a test to see whether the seating depth makes any difference to the velocity. The first three shots were loaded with the pellet skirt flush with the rear of the barrel (it’s as flush as I could get it — the picture does show that it’s inside the barrel a little). The second three shots were pressed into the breech as deep as they would go with my thumb, so they are a little deeper in the breech. The last three shots were pushed into the breech to a depth of about 1/8-inch, using a ballpoint pen, so the depth was always the same.

Edge  Basic flush
This RWS Basic pellet was pushed in flush with the end of the barrel.

Edge  Basic thumb deep
This pellet was pressed in as deep as my thumb would push it.

Edge Basic deep
This pellet has been pushed deeper into the breech — about 1/8-inches deep.

Shot…………Vel.
1…………….543 flush
2…………….529 flush
3…………….531 flush
4…………….539 thumb deep
5…………….534 thumb deep
6…………….532 thumb deep
7…………….538 1/8″ deep
8…………….536 1/8″ deep
9…………….542 1/8″ deep

From what I see here, the depth to which the pellets are seated doesn’t affect the velocity that much. I needed to take the pictures shown above of the pellets’ seated depth, so two more shots were fired. From this point on in today’s testing, all pellets will be seated thumb deep, which is the middle picture above.

10…………….535 thumb deep
11…………….530 thumb deep

This first string gives us a baseline velocity to compare to later on. Now I will test other pellets — all seated thumb deep.

Test strategy

Before I get into the velocity tests, let me tell you how this test worked. I waited for 60 seconds between each shot. The Edge has a regulator and that amount of time should allow it to fully refill the firing chamber that is mostly inside the body of the valve. But also, in a match a shooter has from 72 seconds to 90 seconds between each shot, depending on the type of match. Given all the things the shooter has to do, it takes about 30 seconds between each shot to get ready for the next one, so the 72-90 seconds they have allows for those times when the shot isn’t taken and they have to restart. Waiting 60 seconds between shots is very realistic. But don’t worry — I will test the speed of the regulator later. Now, let’s get started.

H&N Finale Match Light

Ten H&N Finale Match Light pellets that weigh 7.87-grains averaged 532 f.p.s. The low was 527 and the high was 535, so a spread of 8 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 4.95 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next to be tested was the 7-grain RWS R10 Match Pistol wadcutter. Ten of them averaged 562 f.p.s. with a spread from 558 to 569 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 11 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 4.91 foot-pounds of energy.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutters are pure tin, and weigh just 5.25 grains. We expect them to go faster and they do. They averaged 640 f.p.s. in the Edge. The spread was 8 f.p.s., from 637 to 645 f.p.s. At that average they produced 4.78 foot-pounds.

RWS Basic

I started this test with 11 shots of  RWS Basic pellets. I didn’t take an average from that string because I was doing different things that could have affected the velocity.  After the fact we know that those things did not seem to affect the velocity, but I waited instead for this opportunity to take the average.

At this point I shot a 10-shot string of Basics for the average and got 545 f.p.s. As you can see, that’s higher than any of the first 11 shots. The spread was 12 f.p.s. from 539 to 551 f.p.s. At that velocity the Basic pellet generates 4.62 foot-pounds of energy. But I did a lot more with this string than just get the average.

Is the regulator slow?

Remember in the beginning I said I would test the regulator at some point to see if it takes a long time to fill the firing chamber? This string was where I did that. I shot the first 5 shots waiting a minute between each, and then five more shots that were fired as fast as I could go. Now let’s look at the string that produced those numbers I just gave you. And remember — there are already 41 shots on this fill. I’m seating each pellet thumb deep.

Shot…………Vel.
1…………….539
2…………….541
3…………….550
4…………….548
5…………….543

now, shoot as fast as possible

6…………….543
7…………….551
8…………….542
9…………….550
10……………545

That answers the regulator question. This reg fills fast. It took me about 10 seconds between each shot on the second 5 shots because I was writing down the velocity, opening the bolt, loading a pellet, closing the bolt and aligning the barrel with the chronograph skyscreens. I can load and shoot this Edge as fast as I want to. 

Shot count

Okay, here comes the rest of the test. For all that follows I shot the RWS Basic pellet and did not wait any special time between shots. They were about 10 seconds apart. All pellets were seated thumb deep.

Shot……….Vel.
52…………548
53…………548
54…………545
55…………545
56…………551
57…………559
58…………553
59…………545
60…………551
61…………547
62…………554
63…………563
64…………544
65…………555
66…………548
67…………559
68…………562
69…………548
70…………561
71…………550
72…………559
73…………547
74…………559
75…………553
76…………552
77…………549
78…………548
79…………552
80…………552
81…………554
82…………556
83…………547
84…………552
85…………555
86…………554
87…………557
88…………586 Oh, oh! We’re off the reg.
89…………577
90…………581
91…………577
92…………573
93…………560
94…………557
95…………557
96…………546
97…………543
98…………534
99…………538
100………..529
101………..516

Discussion

Given the velocity we are seeing, I think this is a lot of shots! I expected 45-60 good shots at this velocity. So, how should we interpret this string? There are several ways to go.

If we take the first 100 shots then Basic pellets shot from a low of 529 f.p.s. on the second shot to a high of 586 f.p.s. on shot 86. That is a difference of 57 f.p.s. I am not comfortable with such a large spread for shooting at targets. If I were just plinking then it would be a different story.

If I stopped shooting at shot 80 then the high for the string is 563 f.p.s on shot 63, and the difference between low and high drops to 34 f.p.s. As a target shooter I would feel more comfortable with that amount of difference. But that’s not all.

On the first string of 11 shots Basic pellets varied by 14 f.p.s. On the string I actually tested, which was shots 42 to 51, they varied by 12 f.p.s. But H&N Finale Match Light varied by only 8 f.p.s. and Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets varied by the same 8 f.p.s. What I’m saying is the target pellet we select might vary by less than the RWS Basic pellet. There is a lot more to figure out, but right now it appears there are no fewer than 80 consistent shots at a considerably higher velocity than I was expecting. So — yes, the regulator does smooth things out, and, yes, it also does fill so fast that we need not worry about it. As this new valve and reg break in, they will only get better.

At the end of the test there was 800 psi remaining in the reservoir. So the rifle gave me 101 shots on 2200 psi. The regulator probably turned off around 1400 psi or so. That’s just a guess, based on the faster velocity at the end until the air ran out.

Trigger pull

I have already reported the trigger pull twice in this series. Stage one that many shooters will not even feel is 0.7 ounces and stage two breaks crisply at exactly one pound. The NRA minimum trigger pull for what they call the Sporter Class, which is what the Junior Marksmen shoot, is 1.5 pounds. But as I said, this trigger is too nice to change.

Discharge sound

Surprisingly the Edge is somewhat loud! I rate it a 3.5-3.6 on the Pyramyd Air 5-point scale. I felt it was too loud for me when I knew I had a perfectly good silencer to install. So I installed it and the rifle became incredibly quiet — perhaps a 0.8 on the same scale. 

Edge  sight extensions
The silencer quiets the rifle considerably!

But what does the silencer do to accuracy? I intend finding out, which will expand the accuracy test a little.

Summary

We are off to a good start with this Edge. I hope there are more pleasant surprises awaiting us!


Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle Gen2: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Fortitude
The Generation II Benjamin Fortitude.

This report covers:

  • Fill to 3,000
  • Crosman Premier Heavys
  • Discussion 1
  • RWS Hobby
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Where are we?
  • After lunch
  • Discussion 2
  • Noise
  • Trigger pull
  • More velocity testing to come
  • Summary

Watch out, spouses! The Great Enabler is about to strike!

Today’s report is so astonishing that if I hadn’t been there I probably would have my doubts. The velocity test took me two and one-half hours to complete! That’s because the .177 Benjamin Fortitude had so many shots on a single fill to 3,000 psi! Let’s get started.

Fill to 3,000

I filled the rifle to 3,000 psi as indicated on the gauge of my large carbon fiber tank. The gauge on the rifle also showed the pressure was 3,000 psi, and I know the gauge on my air tank is very accurate. I waited for 4 days after filling and the pressure still showed 3,000 psi on the rifle’s onboard gauge, so I know the rifle holds well.

Fortitude fill
The Fortitude gauge agrees with my tank gauge.

Crosman Premier Heavys

Since this is a Benjamin (Crosman) airgun, I started the test with 10.5-grain Crosman Premiers. The Pyramyd Air website, as well as a slip of paper Crosman puts in the box, says the rifle comes from the factory with the power adjuster turned up 4 turns, which is on the more powerful side, but not the most powerful. They say to expect up to 90 powerful shots.

The first ten 10.5-grain Premier Heavys averaged 726 f.p.s. The low was 719 and the high was 733 f.p.s. — a difference of 14 f.p.s. For a regulated airgun that is not that tight.  But keep an open mind because today’s report is a lesson in PCP operation.

At the average velocity the 10.5-grain Premier going 726 f.p.s. generates 12.29 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Remember, this is just the factory setting.

The next string of 10 shots averaged 722 f.p.s. and the spread went from a low of 717 to a high of 726 f.p.s. — a difference of 9 f.p.s. It seemed to me the velocity was falling. So I shot a third string of Premier Heavys that I will now show you.

Shot……..Vel.
1…………717
2…………711
3…………708
4…………720
5…………did not register
6…………718
7…………713
8…………691
9…………693
10………..680

After this third string I was prepared to say that the rifle had fallen off the regulator, but when I looked at the pressure gauge, it was still 2,800 psi! So I shot another string of 10. They looked like this.

Shot……..Vel.
1…………718
2…………687 Waited 20 seconds before this shot
3…………714 Waited 30 seconds before this shot and all the rest
4…………704
5…………720
6…………717
7…………702
8…………714
9…………681
10………..718

Discussion 1

The average for this string of 10 was 706 f.p.s. What’s happening is the regulator is taking a long time to fill — AND, the reg and valve are both breaking in! I will continue to shoot the Fortitude and wait 30 seconds between each shot for the remainder of the test, until I say different. We have now seen 40 shots with Premier Heavys — let’s see what other pellets do.

RWS Hobby

The 7-grain RWS Hobby pellet averaged 867 f.p.s. from the Fortitude. At that velocity it generates 11.69 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The spread went from a low of 854 to a high of 876 f.p.s. That is a 22 f.p.s. spread.

JSB Exact Heavy

The next pellet I tried was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy. They averaged 743 f.p.s. with a 12 f.p.s. spread from 737 to 749 f.p.s. The average energy is 12,68 foot-pounds. I am still waiting 30 seconds between each shot.

Where are we?

The Fortitude has now fired 60 shots. The onboard pressure gauge reads 2,400 psi remains, so there should be a lot more shots. I therefore switched back to the 10.5-grain Premiers Heavys to continue. 

Shots 61 to 70 with Premier Heavys averaged 724 f.p.s. The low was 715 and the high was 735 f.p.s. — a difference of 20 f.p.s. That’s a total of 70 shots on the first fill. We are not done yet!

The next string of Premier Heavys averaged 718 f.p.s. The low was 707 f.p.s. and the high was 721 f.p.s. — a difference of 14 f.p.s.

The next string of Heavys averaged 717 f.p.s. with an 8 f.p.s. spread from 711 to 719 f.p.s. The string after that averaged 714 f.p.s.with a spread from 704 to 723 f.p.s. I thought surely at 100 shots on the fill the gun was out of air. But I continued.

The next string averaged 706 f.p.s. with a low of 691 and a high of 713 f.p.s. For sure the rifle had to be out of air by this point except that highest velocity was the last shot — number 110 since filling the rifle. So I continued.

The next string of 10 shots averaged 715 f.p.s. The low was 709 f.p.s and the high was 720 f.p.s. The string after that averaged 718 f.p.s. with a low of 710 and a high of 726 f.p.s. The last shot — number 130 since the rifle was filled — registered 723 f.p.s.

The next string of 10 shots, also Crosman Premier Heavys, averaged 718 f.p.s. The low was 704 f.p.s. and the high was 727 f.p.s. — a difference of 23 f.p.s.

At this point I had been shooting the rifle and recording the shots for a solid 2 hours 10 minutes. It was lunchtime and I hoped when I returned that this velocity test would be finished soon. Oh, and by the way, I ran out of Crosman Premier Heavys!

After lunch

I stopped for about 50 minutes for lunch. When I returned I continued the test, but my Crosman Premier Heavys were gone. So I switched to JSB Exact Heavys that had averaged 743 f.p.s. on the 6th string of this test. Let’s look at what they did now — starting with shot number 141 since the test began.

Shot……..Vel.
1…………790
2…………789 waited just 15 seconds before every shot that follows
3…………790
4…………792
5…………790
6…………778
7…………787
8…………778
9…………783
10………..776

Discussion 2

Why did I start waiting 15 seconds between shots instead of 30? Because the rifle was ready sooner. It indicates the regulator and valve are breaking in. Where I had to wait twice as long before, now the time is cut in half. Also the rifle does seem to perform more consistently with these pure lead pellets better than with the harder Premiers.

The average for this string is 785 s.p.s. That is 42 f.p.s. FASTER than the average for the same pellet 80 shots before!!! But the next string is the real telling point.

Shot……..Vel.
1…………776
2…………767
3…………766 started waiting 30 seconds between shots from this point on
4…………765
5…………761
6…………751
7…………750
8…………746
9…………736
10………..734

It should be obvious from the steady drop in velocity on this string that the Fortitude is now off the regulator and in need of a fill. But that last shot with 10.34-grain JSBs is just 9 f.p.s. slower than the average from the same pellet on the 6th string. I call that 160 effective and powerful shots on one fill. Over a total of 140 shots (with two strings of other pellets included) Crosman Premier Heavys varied from a low of 680 f.p.s (shot number 30) to a high of 735 f.p.s (shot number 61). That is a difference of 55 f.p.s. 

When the last shot was fired the gun gauge registered 800 psi. On the next fill my tank gauge agreed with that exactly.

Fortitude fill
When shot 160 was fired this is what the onboard gauge read.

Noise

The Fortitude is QUIET! I have to rate it a 1.6 on the Pyramyd Air 5-point scale. This is an airgun most people will be able to shoot without disturbing their neighbors — at least at this 12 foot-pound level.

Trigger pull

For the first 20 shots I thought the Fortitude had a single stage trigger. Then I felt a very subtle stop in the pull, and I got curious. What the Fortitude trigger does is pull heavy through stage one — just like the expensive Geisselle trigger on my AR. But then it stops against a definite wall. You have to feel for the wall. Bubba will miss it every time. But it is there.

Stage two has one spot of creep in it sometimes and then it breaks. Other times I don’t feel the creep. Like the valve and regulator, the trigger is also breaking in. I think when I get to the accuracy test I will be able to control it well.

Stage one stopped at 4 lbs. 8 oz. Stage two broke at 4 lbs. 15 oz consistently. In think I can work with this trigger.

More velocity testing to come

I still have not adjusted the Fortitude all the way up or down. I had hoped to get that in today, but this test took so long there wasn’t time.

Summary

I am getting excited about this air rifle! I think today’s test shows two things very clearly. First — if you want to shoot a PCP and just use a hand pump this might be your airgun. It does manage air remarkably well. As a regulated gun it isn’t too consistent, but both the reg and valve need more time in use to say that. When it is full broken in I would expect a velocity variation at this power level of 15-20 f.p.s. for the Premier Heavy pellet.

And, for those wanting quiet airguns, I can hardly think of one that’s quieter. Maybe the sound will increase when I dial the velocity up, but we shall see.


Diana 27S: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 27S
Diana 27S.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Velocity day
  • A happy accident
  • Breech seal
  • No problemo!
  • BB isn’t daunted
  • Problemo
  • BB has a backup
  • HOWEVER
  • What size are the seals?
  • What now?
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Today’s report
  • Summary

Today is Part 2 of my test of the vintage Diana 27S. From the comments to Part 1 we learned that several of you own them, but you all seem to live in Europe and the UK. This model is very rare in the U.S. Today’s report is about a failure that turned out to be a huge success!

“Oh, oh! BB’s talking like Mr. Miyagi again! Better get out the rags and car wax!”

Velocity day

I normally test velocity on Day 2 and that is exactly what I intended to do. My guess was that a .177-caliber Diana 27 should shoot around 650 f.p.s. with lighter pellets when it’s in good condition. I put five drops of Crosman Pellgunoil down the air transfer port that is located behind the barrel when it’s closed and then I shot three shots to just spread the oil around. Normally I would cock and uncock the rifle to spread the oil, but we learned in Part 1 that the 27S has an anti-beartrap device that prevents uncocking except by firing.

A happy accident

The oil proved to be a happy accident because of what happened next. The first recorded shot with an Air Arms Falcon dome went out the muzzle at 542 f.p.s. That’s a little slow but I can work with it. However, the next 5 shots went like this.

Shot…….Velocity
1………….352
2………….334
3………….345
4………….347
5………….352

Wow! This rifle is way off where I expected it to be. But remember that happy accident I mentioned with the oil? It came out as a mist on the first shot, which was a diesel. I saw oil mist shoot out the muzzle and also around the breech. Ah HA! The breech seal is weak.

Breech seal

And here is the first bit of knowledge. The breech seal did not appear to be bad. It was just a little flat, but well within tolerances for a normal o-ring seal. But when I removed it I discovered it was as hard as a rock! It was flat but also immovable — allowing compressed air to rush around it. An o-ring in the breech should push forward when compressed air gets underneath it and lifts it to seal against the breech tightly. This one wasn’t moving. As long as the breech was dry I couldn’t see the air squirting out, but that oil mist made it instantly visible.

No problemo!

Well I am the great B.B. Pelletier, and a couple months ago I ordered a huge assortment of o-rings in both SAE and metric sizes. I’ll get this little puppy back on track in no time.

Knowing that the German manufacturers had used metric o-rings, I looked through my huge assortment — only to discover that I didn’t have the size metric ring I needed. Knowledge number two is — a huge assortment of o-rings doesn’t contain rings of all sizes. Fate conspires to ensure that the size you need is not in the box! That’s the same Fate that hides one of each pair of your sox in the dryer.

BB isn’t daunted

But Fate was dealing with BB Pelletier this time and I had a second huge box of SAE o-rings, as well. I would find one that’s the perfect size and laugh at Fate who thought that, just because it isn’t labeled as metric, I wouldn’t know I had one that fit!

Problemo

Nope. Fate was laughing at me. If the o-ring was the right diameter it was made from material whose cross-section is too thin to do the job. If it was the right cross-section, it was not the right size. Ha, ha!

BB has a backup

What Fate didn’t know was B.B. has a stash of odd-sized o-rings that he has collected over the years. I brought them out and, wouldn’t you know it, those that were thick enough were the wrong size and those that were the right size were too thin.

HOWEVER

Then Fate’s prettier sister, Luck, stepped in. Because, among my collection of odd-sized o-rings, was one leather breech seal I had made years ago — probably for another Diana rifle. It wasn’t as thick as it needs to be and also was not as well-formed as I would like which is why I never used it, but it was the right diameter. So I installed it and tested the rifle again — still shooting the Falcon pellet. Here is what I got.

Shot…….Velocity
1………….686
2………….681
3………….693
4………….360
5………….367

Wow! A three-hundred f.p.s. boost — just from having a tight breech seal! But what about the last two shots? I think the leather, which was the right diameter but not the right thickness, got pushed back and flattened out too much, then started leaking air again. I could shim it up and get it to work, but I was after something more refined.

Diana 27S breech seal
The leather seal I installed is too thin for the breech and has already flattened out after three shots. But it told me what I needed to know!

What size are the seals?

Okay, here comes knowledge number three. What size is this o-ring? When I measured it the first time in the gun, the numbers didn’t make any sense. I got a material thickness of 2.4mm with an outside diameter of 13.1mm and an inside diameter of 8.3mm. What a whacky set of numbers! Surely such o-rings don’t exist and I’m just not measuring them correctly?

Then I went to Grainger’s website. Such o-rings DO exist with those exact dimensions! Golly — this stuff really does work!

What now?

Okay, what do I do now? I could order a Diana 27 breech seal from Chambers Gunmakers, but they are currently out of stock. Even if they had one I would end up paying about seven to ten dollars for just one seal and have to wait about two weeks for it to arrive. Instead I decided to spend more money and save more by ordering the o-ring in bulk from Grainger — the same guys I bought the o-ring sets from. Each one will cost me about $1.15 this way and I should have them on Monday. Sure, I will have many more seals than I need, but Diana uses the same size seal for many of their spring-piston rifles, so what I am really doing is stocking up.

Cocking effort

I have to say this 27S cocks harder than I expected. The Diana 35 I tuned with Tune in a Tube cocked with 16 lbs. of effort. That is off-the-charts good for a Diana 35 and much lighter than this 27S. Of course the 35 barrel does measure 19 inches while the one on the 27S is about an inch shorter.

I guessed the rifle cocked with 24 lbs. of effort. The scale agreed with me when I tested it, which sounds like I tested first and then wrote about it, but I didn’t. You have to remember I have done this same test hundreds of times before, so I’m getting pretty good at guessing the effort.

Trigger pull

The two-stage trigger breaks at 1 lb. 8 oz. It’s light enough but not entirely crisp. I’m hoping some lube will sort that out.

Today’s report

This was a report that was supposed to go one way and instead went another. I learned a lot from it. Here is what I learned.

A breech seal can look okay and still be leaking air.
O-ring sets don’t contain every size of ring.
A good breech seal can add hundreds of f.p.s. to the velocity.
O-rings don’t always conform to even dimensions.

Summary

I know you machinists are laughing up your sleeves at how dumb I am, but if I don’t admit this stuff publicly there are guys who need to know it that will never find out. And, even if I am naive on the subject of o-ring sizes, who knew the right ones could boost the velocity of a low-powered airgun like a Diana 27S by over 300 f.p.s.? I sure didn’t. In the past I have seen gains of 60 and 80 f.p.s. when breech seals were changed, but today was a real eye-opener.

Will this rifle deliver the same 680 f.p.s. with Falcons when a fresh o-ring is installed? I don’t really know. I expected it to shoot around 650 f.p.s. and would be very satisfied if it ended up there. If it does the rifle is shooting where it should and all I have to do is go inside and lubricate it a little. This is going to be a good series!


Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pro-Sport
Air Arms Pro-Sport.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • Evil BB!
  • Report on the Meopta scope
  • Sight-in
  • The test
  • Refine the sight-in
  • However
  • Hurray!
  • What have we learned?
  • The second However
  • H&N Baracuda with 5.50mm head
  • Next
  • Summary

Today we test the Air Arms Pro-Sport with the Vortek PG3 tune kit I installed and tested in Part 5. But first I have to clear up a misconception.

Evil BB!

Somewhere along the line you may have read that I said the Meopta MeoPro Optika6 scope came without scope caps. It wasn’t really me who said that! It was my evil twin cousin, BB Airgundart! He sometimes sneaks into my house and messes with the blog without me knowing it. The Optika6 has a very nice set of scope caps with their logo on both caps. I found them on my somewhat cluttered desk, in the detritus just above the Cambrian layer!

Report on the Meopta scope

In Part 6 of the Dreamlite report I mentioned that the illuminated dot was flashing in my Optika6 scope. Meopta, who follows this blog, read that and informed me that dot is never supposed to flash. It’s supposed to remain solid on all 6 brightness settings, and the flashing does not indicate the battery is running down. They asked me to return the scope so they could examine it, and they promptly sent a replacement. What I had neglected to report to you in the first report on the scope is that it comes with a lifetime warrantee!

Thanks to them I am back in business with what is the finest riflescope I have ever owned, and I’m putting it on the Pro-Sport that I’ll be shooting today. I’m mounting it in the Sportsmatch 30mm adjustable rings and the scope just fits the rifle! Let’s look.

Pro-Sport Meopta scope
The Meopta MeoPro Optika6 scope is mounted on the Pro-Sport. As you can see, it does have scope caps. When the eyepiece is positioned correctly the scope objective lens just clears the loading port by less than a quarter-inch, making it perfect for this rifle!

I forgot just how clear and sharp this scope is. Or maybe my eyes are better this time when I used it. I did not need the illumination to see the dot over the 10-dot on the target at 25 yards.

Sight-in

I sighted in from 12 feet, which is a benefit we airgunners have. The pellet landed about 1.5 inches below the aim point and a little to the left, so the elevation was ideal for 25 yards (the approximate distance between the center of the scope and the center of the bore is 2-inches, and that is about how low the shot should be at 10-12 feet), so I put in 4 clicks of right adjustment and went back to 25 yards to begin the test.

The test

I will shoot a couple 10-shot groups from 25 yards. My goal today is not to see whether the Pro-Sport is accurate. That was established in Part 3. My goal today is to report on the smoothness of the Vortek PG3 tune and also on the performance of the Meopta scope on a spring-piston air rifle.

You will remember that Meopta wasn’t initially keen on making scopes for recoiling air rifles. But they did make this line whose parallax adjusts to 10 yards. I have already tested it on two precharged pneumatics — a very accurate Air Arms S510XS and also on a .177-caliber FX Dreamlite that’s accurate but not a world-beater. I promised them I would start testing it on a very smooth spring-piston rifle and we would go from there.

I already know this scope is a wonderful optic. But today’s test showed me that its even sharper than I remembered, and I think the difference must be my eyes. Old eyes do change from day to day and today they were at their best — and so was this scope!

Refine the sight-in

The first 10 shots at 25 yards were to refine the sight-in. Then I shot a 10-shot group that was great, only it had two different points of impact. I was resting the rifle directly on the sandbag, which you can do with an Air Arms springer. HOWEVER!!!

However

Yes, there is a however today. Back at 25 yards I was resting the Pro-Sport with the point of contact with the sandbag back by the trigger guard. It seemed very stable but it was throwing its shots around more than I liked. So I wondered if resting it forward by the end of the forearm would be better.

Hurray!

Was it ever better! With the rifle rested this way 10 JSB Exact Jumbo domes went into a group measuring 0.38-inches at 25 yards. If you check back to Part 3 you’ll see that there I managed to get 5 of the same pellet in 0.39-inches at 25 yards. Here is a 10-shot group that’s smaller than the 5-shot group, when it should have been about 40 percent larger!

Pro-Sport JSB Jumbo group
The Air Arms Pro-Sport put 10 JSB Exact Jumbo pellets in 0.38-inches at 25 yards.

What have we learned?

We now know that the forearm resting far forward on the sandbag is the best way to shoot this Pro-Sport — at least with this tune. And I do want you to understand that this tune has not made the rifle any more accurate. It’s just made it easier to shoot accurately, because it’s easier to cock and also doesn’t vibrate nearly as much. HOWEVER!

The second However

I didn’t know for sure until this test how well the rifle with the new tuneup would shoot. With my face against the stock for every shot I now know everything. While the Pro-Sport is far smoother with this tune than when it came from the factory, it is not the smoothest air rifle I have ever shot. That honor goes to Michael’s Winchester 427. This Pro-Sport has a little jolt when the piston stops — so Meopta, be aware that you are getting a good test with a recoiling spring-piston air rifle. It’s a smooth rifle that only recoils lightly, but it does have the forward bump that is known for destroying scopes. Before you worry too much, though, you should read last Friday’s report where I discussed the evolution of riflescopes. You are more than likely in no danger.

H&N Baracuda with 5.50mm head

In Part 3 I also got intriguing results with the H&N Baracuda with a 5.50mm head. So I tried them in the Pro-Sport again, this time with 10 shots. Unfortunately this time the results were not as good. Ten Baracuda pellets went into 0.773-inches at 10 meters. That takes them out of contention. In fairness, however, the rifle now has far less power and that may have made a difference. I’ll say more about that in a moment.

Pro-Sport Baracuda group
This group of 10 Baracudas isn’t as impressive. It measures 0.773-inches between centers.

Next

Okay, that’s done. The next step, thanks to the suggestion of reader Yogi, is to tune the rifle again and this time to tune it for all the power the Vortek PG3 kit can get. That should be about 12 foot-pounds for this .22-caliber rifle. Then I will test that for you. After that, who knows?

Summary

The Vortek PG3 kit really makes the Pro-Sport a delightful air rifle to cock and shoot. And the Pro-Sport trigger is adjusted about as nice as anyone could hope. Top it all off with the Meopta MeoPro Optika6 scope, sitting in the Sportsmatch adjustable mounts, and you have an air rifle combination that dreams are made of. I wish you readers could try this for yourselves. All I can say at this point is I never knew a Pro-Sport could be as nice as this. It is a sheer delight. I still like my TX200 Mark III, but if I didn’t already own it this one would give it a run for the money!


Gamo 126 single stroke pneumatic 10-meter target rifle: Part 2

 

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gamo 126
Gamo 126 single stroke pneumatic 10-meter target rifle.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • RWS Basic
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS R10
  • Warmed up?
  • Second string of RWS Basics
  • Pump effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today is velocity day for the Gamo 126 target rifle we are testing. We learned a lot from the comments in Part 1 and I also learned a lot while researching the rifle for this report. Today we will see where this particular one is.

The Blue Book of Airguns said to expect a velocity of 590 f.p.s., but many owners say 550 is about as fast as they ever shoot and some even say less. The rifle also starts loosing velocity over time, so we should be able to assess the health of the gun I am testing right away.

RWS Basic

I will start with the lightest lead wadcutter anyone is likely to use — the 7-grain RWS Basic. I will warm up the action with several shots before starting to chronograph the results.

The first string of Basics averaged 434 f.p.s. The low was 415 and the high was 449 f.p.s. The spread from low to high was 34 f.p.s. I guess this 126 is getting tired again, following its reseal.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next to be tested were Sig Match Ballstic Alloy pellets They weigh 5.25-grains and should be the fastest that I test today. Ten of them averaged 496 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 490 to a high of 501 f.p.s. That’s 11 f.p.s., so this pellet might be accurate. And the rifle may be warming up, so I need to test Basics again.

RWS R10

The next pellet I tested was the 7-grain RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. I also tried a different way of pumping the gun. Instead of forcing the pump lever closed as fast as possible I went with a smooth motion that was decidedly slower. R10s averaged 454 f.p.s. with a spread that went from 449 to 460 f.p.s. That’s an 11 f.p.s. spread.

Warmed up?

It seemed like two things had happened as I shot this test. First, the rifle’s pneumatic mechanism had warmed up and second, the different way of pumping seemed to have given the shots more stability. So I wanted to try RWS Basics once more.

Second string of RWS Basics

This time 10 RWS Basics averaged 452 f.p.s. That’s faster than the fastest pellet in the first string (449 f.p.s.). So one or both of the things I said were working. The spread for this string went from a low of 432 to a high of 462 f.p.s., so a difference of 30 f.p.s. That is close to the 34 f.p.s. I got in the first string, so I think this Basic pellet is just not that stable in this rifle. But the rifle pump mechanism definitely did warm up a little!

Pump effort

The Gamo 126 and Walther LGR 10-meter target rifles both share a common flaw, in that their pump stroke is on the closing stroke when their levers move forward. This tends to make both rifles harder to pump than other single-strokes, though the Gamo has some kind of pump assist in its oil-filled piston and is actually easier to pump than any other 10 meter single stroke rifle.

The rifle I am testing requires 15 pounds of force to pump if you go steady and smooth. If you force the lever the effort spikes to more than 20 pounds. Only the awkward placement of the pump fulcrum at the rear of the action gives any hinderance at all.

Trigger pull

Now we come to the thing I am most interested in — the trigger pull. I told you in Part one that the 126 has a world-class trigger and now we will see how correct that was.

This is a two-stage trigger as all target triggers should be. I mean real target triggers — not just triggers that have the name target in their title. Stage one takes 3 ounces to complete and stage two breaks at 3.4 ounces. That’s an average of 5 pulls.

Discussion

The powerplant in my rifle is not performing to spec. But it is fairly stable if I pump it correctly. I can live with that long enough to get through the accuracy test that comes next.

Summary

It seems that reader Geezer was right about the Gamo 126. It apparently does have performance issues. I always heard that it did, but now I know what they are and why they exist.

Does a 126 belong in a collection of vintage 10-meter target rifles? At this point I think it does — warts and all. But I still need to see the accuracy to know for sure.


Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X Gen II air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gamo Swarm Fusion
Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X Gen II rifle.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Well!
  • Another breakbarrel repeater
  • Easy loading
  • High velocity
  • Gamo Platinum PBA
  • Cocking is easy
  • Trigger adjustment
  • Trigger pull
  • RWS Hobby
  • RWS Superdome
  • H&N Baracuda Magnums
  • Gamo Platinum PBA — again
  • Pellet feeding
  • Summary

Well!

When I started the report on the Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X Gen II I didn’t know I was kicking a Texas fire ant mound! Part 1 of this report lead to a report on the history of Gamo, and that brought the show to a screeching stop! I won’t get into all that transpired, but you can read the comments if you are interested.

Another breakbarrel repeater

I’m not going to defend or criticize anyone in this report. All I’m doing is testing another breakbarrel repeater for power, accuracy and overall quality as it pertains to airgunning. With that in mind, let’s start the show.

Easy loading

Reader Yogi mentioned that one advantage about breakbarrel repeaters is they make it easier for people to load the rifle. My brother-in-law, Bob, got an Umarex Synergis underlever repeater for exactly that reason. He is now shooting it with an airgun club and having fun with it. I can tell you this Swarm Fusion 10X magazine is very easy to load. You don’t even have to remove it from the rifle to load it, which means you can treat the rifle as a single-shot if you like. The pellet still has to be fed into the barrel from the magazine by the feed mechanism, but you can change pellets on every shot if you want to.

High velocity

Gamo has long been a proponent of high velocity, and the advertised speed for this .177 caliber rifle I’m testing is 1,300 f.p.s. No doubt that is with lead-free Gamo Platinum PBA pellets. I will test it, of course, but it also tells me the powerplant is set up to handle heavy pellets. So I will test with those, as well. But let’s address the elephant in the room first.

Gamo Platinum PBA

This pellet is advertised to weigh 5.1 grains. I weighed 3 and got a range from 4.9 to 5.0-grains. Let me show you the string and then I’ll discuss it.

Shot……Vel.
1………1168
2………1172
3………1183 fastest
4………1175
5………1127
6………1161
7………1168
8………1114 slowest
9………1148
10……..1124

The “average for this string is 1154 f.p.s. but you’ll notice that no pellet went that speed. What we have here is a bimodal distribution, with 4 pellets going between 1114 and 1147 f.p.s. and 6 pellets going between 1161 and 1183 f.p.s. Either the gun is so new that it’s still breaking in, which is absolutely possible, or this rifle doesn’t like this pellet. That also seems possible, but I’m going to do a second test after I’ve tested all the other pellets to see which it is.

The velocity spread was 69 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet (using 5 grains as the weight) generated 14.79 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

At this point I have to say the rifle does not reach 1300 f.p.s. Not that it’s important — that’s not a velocity I want to reach. But it doesn’t.

Cocking is easy

I mentioned in Part 1 that the SwarmFusion is easy to cock. And it is, but even better, you don’t have to slap the muzzle to break the barrel open. It opens easily.

When I tested the rifle on my scale I was surprised to see the effort rise to 35 pounds. I would have bet money it was 10 pounds less. However, right after reaching that peak, the effort rapidly dropped back to less than 20 pounds. Then it hit me what is happening. Gamo has designed the cocking effort to peak at the point where you have the most strength and drop where your strength becomes less. It’s a geometry thing. That long cocking stroke has been engineered to help the shooter. I have to tell you — it really works!

Trigger adjustment

The two-stage custom action trigger (CAT) trigger is adjustable — HOWEVER. I wanted to adjust stage two to have a shorter pull, and that adjustment is made with a tiny Phillips screw located behind the trigger blade. The slot through the trigger guard to get on that screw straight is too narrow for any of my Phillips screwdrivers that have heads small enough to work. It measures 5.14mm wide.

My drone screwdriver fits the screw head that I’m guessing to be zero-size, but the blade is too short to reach through the slot, and the handle is too wide (6.85mm) to pass through the narrow slot. There is a larger hole behind the narrow one, but it’s for removing the action from the stock. Attempting to use it with the Phillips screwdriver makes the angle of the screwdriver too far off what it needs to be for the driver head to bite into the screw head. Since Phillips screws are so easy to bugger I won’t adjust the trigger today, but I did order a set of precision long shank screwdrivers that should allow me to adjust it the next time I test the rifle. Shame on Gamo for not including a tool for this adjustment — or for not selecting a fastener that wouldn’t have this problem!

Gamo Swarm Fusion trigger
The slot the second-stage trigger adjustment screw has to pass through is too narrow for any of my Phillips screwdrivers. Going through the larger hole behind that hole puts the screwdriver tip at a bad angle.

Trigger pull

Like the evening political news, however, all my complaining is meaningless because the CAT trigger pull is just delightful. Stage two has a long smooth travel. Just pretend it’s a single-stage trigger and you’ll be fine. The trigger broke at 2 lbs. 10 oz.

RWS Hobby

With lead-free lightweights out of the way, time to test the Swarm Fusion with a real lead pellet. Next up was the RWS Hobby — the lightweight pellet standard of the world. First the string. Don’t get used to this. I’m only showing it today because I need to talk about it.

Shot…..Vel.
1………971 fastest
2………955
3………962
4………962
5………949 slowest
6………963
7………969
8………951
9………955
10……..960

The average for this string is 960 f.p.s. and, as you can see, this string is a LOT tighter than the first one. The extreme velocity spread here is just 22 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 14.33 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

RWS Superdome

Now let’s bump the pellet weight up a bit and shoot the 8.3-grain RWS Superdome. First the string.

Shot…..Vel.
1………863
2………876
3………877
4………863 slowest
5………866
6………did not register
7………878
8………did not register
9………875
10……..868
11……..871
10……..881 fastest

The average for the 10 shots that registered was 872 f.p.s. At that speed Superdomes generate 14.02 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The extreme spread for them was 18 f.p.s. The rifle may be breaking in, but as the pellets get heavier the velocity spread goes down.

I actually shot 12 pellets because of the two that didn’t register. Loading the extra two pellets was so simple, thanks to that magazine.

H&N Baracuda Magnums

The last pellet I will test is the super-heavyweight H&N Baracuda Magnum. The box says they should weigh 16.36-grains, but the four I weighed varied between 15.4 and 15.8-grains. That’s a pretty big difference — both in the spread of pellet weights and also from the weight that’s listed on the tin! Three of the four weighed 15.8-grains.

Because this pellet is so heavy it is also very long. This gave me an opportunity to see if they would both fit into and cycle through the circular magazine. And, they did! Not a bit of trouble! Here is the string.

Shot…..Vel.
1………502
2………495
3………495
4………505
5………500
6………497
7………492 slowest
8………501
9………515 fastest
10……..498

The Baracuda Magnum generated 8.77 foot-pounds at the muzzle, based on a weight of 15.8-grains that most of them weighed. The velocity spread was 23 f.p.s. I don’t think this is a good pellet for this rifle.

Gamo Platinum PBA — again

Now I wanted to test Gamo Platinum PBA pellets again. Remember they gave a bimodal distribution in the first test. First let’s look at the string.

Shot……Vel.
1………1181fastest
2………1167
3………1154
4………1124 slowest
5………1147
6………1158
7………1139
8………1136
9………1168
10……..1157

The average for this string is 1153 f.p.s. — only 1 f.p.s. slower than the first string. The spread was 57 f.p.s. That’s better than the 69 f.p.s spread on the first string, but still way more than any of the other pellets. There is less of a bimodal distribution this time, but I now believe that it is the pellet and not the break-in that’s responsible for what we see.

Pellet feeding

The magazine functioned throughout the test without a slip-up. Fifty-two pellets fed smoothly through the gun. Have no concern there.

Summary

This test turned out differently than I expected. I expected the rifle to get over 1,300 f.p.s., because when Gamo says that they usually do. However I do like the trigger, and the rifle cocks easily despite the weight that I saw. The rifle is lightweight yet doesn’t  slap you when it fires, like many gas spring guns do. And the pellet feeding was flawless. I sure hope this rifle is accurate, because if it is, it’s a winner!


Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pro-Sport
Air Arms Pro-Sport.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Pro-Sport trigger
  • Based on the Rekord
  • Set trigger
  • Rekord is not set
  • What is dangerous?
  • Hair trigger
  • Slippage
  • Fingers with neuropathy
  • Cold fingers
  • So what?
  • TX trigger
  • Mach II trigger
  • Pro-Sport trigger adjustment
  • Stage one
  • Stage two
  • But wait…
  • Summary

Pro-Sport trigger
Air Arms Pro-Sport and TX200 trigger. Graphic from Air Arms.

Pro-Sport trigger

Today I show you the trigger of the Air Arms Pro-Sport rifle that I’m testing. I said in Part 2 that I was going to show how to adjust it in Part 3, and then I breezed right past that and shot groups instead. The reason I did is because this trigger was adjusted perfectly as the rifle came to me from the factory. Stage two breaks at 14.8 ounces. It’s far too light for sporting use but perfect for shooting from a bench in a warm environment.

I normally don’t take the time to write about adjusting triggers for you, though in the recent past there have been several exceptions. The Pro-Sport trigger, which is identical to the TX200 Mark III trigger, needs to be another exception, because it is one of the finest sporting air rifle triggers on the market.

Based on the Rekord

To understand the Pro-Sport trigger we first need to understand the Rekord trigger that preceded it by several decades. The Rekord is a multi-lever trigger that is very closely related to a set trigger that can release in fractions of an ounce. But a Rekord is not a set trigger.

Rekord trigger 1
This is the Rekord trigger. Yes, I photographed it from my Beeman R1 book, because I apparently no longer have the original artwork.

Rekord trigger 2
Here is a look inside the sheetmetal trigger box that holds the Rekord trigger parts. Also taken from my R1 book.

Set trigger

A set trigger is “set” (armed would be another good word) by moving its parts into position so that the slightest pressure will make it operate. It can be a single trigger blade that is pushed into the set position, in which case it is called a single-set trigger. Or, there can be a second trigger whose only job is to pull all the trigger parts into position — “setting” or arming the real trigger. When there are two trigger blades it is called a double-set trigger.

Rekord is not set

But the Rekord trigger is never set. It is a proper two-stage sporting trigger. It should always have a first stage that is light and stops when resistance is encountered! That resistance is the effort needed to pull the second stage to the release point, firing the airgun. That second-stage resistance can be adjusted very light — so light, in fact, that it becomes dangerous.

What is dangerous?

If a gun fires because the shooter has his finger in the triggerguard and it touches the trigger blade unintentionally — that is not an accident. That is a stupident! I have done it. Maybe you have done it, and I know stories that I’m sworn not to reveal about people nearly everyone knows who have done it. That is not an accident and it is not the trigger’s fault.

Hair trigger

What IS the trigger’s fault is when the gun fires because the weight of the trigger blade alone causes it to move and the sear to release. Think it’s impossible? Think again. There are set triggers that can be set that light and they fire when the muzzle of the gun is elevated and the trigger pivots back on its pin because of gravity. I have seen guns with triggers set that light. Those are called hair triggers because supposedly the force of one human hair against them will set them off. But many people call a one-pound trigger a hair trigger because, to them, it’s so light that it fires before they are ready.

Slippage

Then there are triggers that fire all by themselves because their sear angles are not correct. All it takes to fire these triggers is to reduce the friction and give the trigger a small push. A 100-pound coiled mainspring pushing against a piston (when a spring-piston rifle is cocked) can provide such a push. These triggers may function perfectly for many years and then fail when they are lubricated with a high-tech lubricant like moly that drops their friction below the point needed to hold them. I have a hole in the ceiling of my office from a BSF S55N that fired unexpectedly from this problem. A slipping trigger is a well-known fault of BSF triggers.

Fingers with neuropathy

Maybe you have neuropathy in your fingers and don’t recognize it. It comes in many forms — one of which is you loose sensitivity in your hands, including your trigger finger. You know that it’s getting harder to pick up postage stamps and coins, but it hasn’t dawned on you that a trigger can also be a problem. You can’t feel the blade until you put 5 pounds of force on it, by which time the gun has already fired.

Cold fingers

When you are out hunting in cold weather your fingers loose their sensitivity, and a one-pound trigger becomes a hair trigger. Cold weather calls for 5-pound triggers, which is the military standard for nearly every nation on the planet.

So what?

The Rekord trigger was designed to be a nearly foolproof two-stage trigger that can be adjusted to suit your preferences, within reason. And, it’s the “within reason” that catches many airgunners. For instance, I just read on one forum where Rekord trigger adjustment screw 52B — the one Beeman has recommended for decades that you never adjust — is laughed at! This forum calls that adjustment a fake. Well, that adjustment determines how much sear engagement stage TWO will have in the trigger. If someone comes along not knowing the consequences and wants an 8-ounce single-stage trigger and they adjust screw 52B to get it, they have just adjusted out all the “proof” in “foolproof,” and what does that leave?

TX trigger

But this report is about the trigger in a Pro-Sport. Well — until you understand how a Rekord trigger works you will have a hard time understanding the more sensitive trigger found in the Pro-Sport.

Mach II trigger

Many rears ago I owned a Mach II trigger (a Rekord trigger replacement) that was custom made by Ivan Hancock. It looked deceptively simple, yet it could be adjusted to a razor’s edge. I no longer have that trigger but let me show you what it looked like — again from my R1 book. Before you get all goose-pimply, please know that the Mach II trigger sold for around $250 in the mid 1990s. It would be a $400+ trigger today.

handmade Mach II trigger
The Mach II trigger exposed. It looks almost identical to the Air Arms trigger graphic above. Two screws in the trigger blade (their holes can barely be seen in this photo) put pressure on the part that Air Arms calls the bottom sear when the trigger is pulled. Notice how close these screws are in this blade.

I showed you the inside of the Mach II trigger because it is nearly identical to the Air Arms trigger except it’s “box” is made of brass and has a brass plate that can be removed to look inside. The Air Arms trigger is inside a sheetmetal box that also opens like this, but I used the Mach II trigger photo that I already had. After shooting the Pro-Sport for record I just don’t want to spoil that gorgeous trigger pull that it came with!

Pro-Sport trigger adjustment

For this discussion we will concentrate on those two adjustment screws that pass through the trigger blade. I hope you understand how a lever works, because these two screws rely heavily on that principal.

The Record trigger doesn’t have these screws. It depends on the shape of the trigger blade (two raised humps) to accomplish the same thing as these two screws, but its shape cannot be adjusted. So people adjust that trigger all that they can, which turns out to be screw 52B. The Air Arms trigger is therefore much more adjustable, and to a finer degree.

Stage one

Stage one is adjusted by the front screw which is also the shortest one. It presses on the bottom sear (the lever) at a point farthest from the fulcrum. That means it moves farther and applies more energy to the lever, but all it is pushing against is the trigger weight spring, so the effort is miniscule. The further in that screw is adjusted the shorter stage one becomes. The trigger blade stops when it encounters more effort. Now, where would that be?

Stage two

The trigger stops when the stage two screw touches the bottom sear. It is closer to the fulcrum and therefore applies less force because its mechanical advantage is less than the stage one adjustment screw. But the stage one screw is still pushing against the bottom sear, too, so the effort to move the trigger blade increases by an amount that can be felt. This point is felt as the stage two stop just before the gun fires.

Pro-Sport trigger detail
The trigger blade pushes up on the lower sear with the stage one screw until the stage two screw is encountered. This is the stage two stop. Then it pushes up with both screws.

If you understand what I have explained so far you can see why the Air Arms trigger is capable of so much finer adjustment than a Rekord. Both stage one and stage two screws act in unison to control how this trigger responds.

But wait…

Yes, there is more but it’s only found on the Mach II trigger. It’s the other screw that passes through the trigger floorplate next to the pull weight spring. That is a positive trigger stop. If you look at the Air Arms trigger you see there isn’t much room to put in a stop screw like that. So they didn’t. This is the one area in which the two triggers differ.

Summary

What I have shown you today are the fine adjustments that make the Air Arms Pro-Sport and TX200 Mark III triggers the finest adjustable triggers in the sporting spring gun world today. I have told you where the trigger on my rifle is set, but I have avoided messing with it because it is so right on as it is.

So what comes next? I have received a 12 foot-pound tuneup kit from Vortek, and I plan to install it next, then test the gun for velocity and accuracy again. And I hope to mount the Meopta scope for that test. After that, who knows?