FX Radar Pocket Wireless Chronograph: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FX chronograph
The FX Radar Pocket Wireless chronograph.

This report covers:

  • No manual
  • BB freebie
  • The app is the manual — sort of
  • Setup 
  • Batteries
  • Easy!
  • Mounting
  • The test
  • Wake up, BB!
  • Woopie!
  • Last shot
  • Email the data
  • I like this chrono!
  • Summary

Today we look at a chronograph that uses all the latest technology to deliver its results to wherever you want them. It’s the FX Radar Pocket Wireless Chronograph. I’ll tell you right now — this one is a hands-down, gold-plated winner!

No manual

We learned when we looked at the FX Dreamlite rifle that FX doesn’t do paper manuals very well. But not with this chronograph, because it has no paper manual at all. I went online to the Pyramyd Air manuals (in the resources section) thinking the manual had just been left out of the box. No — there is no manual — as in none, nada, kein, ingen!

What you are supposed to do is get the app for your smart phone, because this chronograph works with a smart phone. Or you can go to the FX website and look at their tutorials for setting up the chronograph. I did that and when the video stopped all the up-front music and silliness and got down to business I saw I needed the chrono app. So I stopped the video and got the app.

BB freebie

FX — here is a freebie from BB. Make it clearer on your box that step one is to get the app. You wrote it on the box and then covered most of that up with your UPC sticker. Think!

The app is the manual — sort of

When I downloaded the app and set it up on my phone, there were instructions about what to do next. The trouble is, when you page through the screens you loose the information you just saw. A small sheet of paper instructions inside the box would have been so helpful!

Why am I belaboring this point? Because half the buyers of this product are old silverbacks like me who don’t play with their smartphones all day. We use them for telephone calls. Did you know they can also do that? It’s not that 36-year-olds don’t like airguns. They do. But 36-year-olds probably have families to support, while us old guys are finding more disposable cash, now that the kids have flown the nest.

Setup 

Once the app was installed (it took only a minute) I followed the online directions and was set up in less than three minutes. So, the total time it took to get this chronograph up and running breaks down like this:

BB looking for the manual in the box and on the box — 10 minutes
BB going to the Pyramyd Air manuals page looking for the manual — 10 minutes
BB going to the FX website and watching the chronograph setup video — 5 minutes
BB actually setting up the chronograph, once the directions were found — 3 minutes


That’s a total of 28 minutes, of which 25 minutes were wasted.

Batteries

This chronograph needs three AAA batteries. They fit inside a battery compartment that’s held shut by a single screw. Replacing that screw was the hardest thing I did during the setup.

FX chronograph batteries
Three AAA batteries power the unit.

Easy!

Once you are into the app everything becomes easy. In fact, I was in the app, had the chrono booted up and ready to go so quickly that I had to scramble to find an airgun to test. I wanted one that I had tested before and one that I knew was relatively stable, so I selected my Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter. Now, before you tell me how I should test this device — I know you want me to test it alongside a second chronograph. That comes later. Today I’m just discovering how this thing works.

Mounting

It should be pretty obvious in the first picture how this chronograph is mounted. It clamps directly on your gun’s barrel. What about pistols? We’ll explore that later.

Use two stout rubber bands to wrap around the barrel and slip the ends over pegs on the chronograph feet. Rifles like the AirForce TalonSS are naturals for mounting. Rifles with slimmer barrels like the S510XS I’m using today may require a second wrap of the rubber bands.

FX chronograph mounted
The chronograph is mounted to the barrel of the Air Arms S510XS. As you see, it took two wraps for each rubber band.

The test

I went to Part 2 of the S510 test that I did back in September of 2019 and I picked the RWS Superdome pellet, because I used it in that test in several ways. The rifle was still filled (from 18 months ago) and set to high power. I aimed at the pellet trap, making sure to align with the skyscreens of my Shooting Chrony and I fired. A nice lady’s voice on my Smart Phone told me that the shot had gone out at 960 f.p.s. I wrote that down on a piece of paper like I always do and then I looked over at my phone. Wow!

FX first look
Wow! This is stuff I normally write down — and a whole lot more!

Wake up, BB!

Then it dawned on me. Why was I writing down the velocity when I had this thing running? This was going to keep track of everything for me! Hot dog!

And why was I taking extra care to align the rifle barrel with the skyscreens on my Shooting Chrony that’s set up on my table? It wasn’t turned on and they weren’t even working! This radar chronograph was doing everything.

Woopie!

I continued shooting and the nice lady kept telling me what each pellet had done. Then it occurred to me that if my smart phone was recording each shot, perhaps it was also making a list, just like the ones I always used to make on paper. Sure enough, it was!

Last shot

However, on the 9th shot the nice lady said nothing. And the display on my phone didn’t change. Oh — I’ve seen this before. The chronograph didn’t record that shot! Sure enough when the 10th pellet went out the spout the chrono thought it was shot number nine and recorded it that way.

FX chronograph last shot
This was the last shot in the string. The chronograph failed to record the 9th shot, so this became the 9th shot. Pardon the flash in the lower right corner of the phone screen, but I was too lazy to get out the tripod. And I forgot I could take screen shots on my phone. See how difficult it is to grow old? Ain’t no graceful about it
.

After the last shot I looked at the icons at the bottom of the screen. What would I like to see? I’d like to see the first string, because at this point, that’s what I’m interested in. So I touched the Shot String icon with my finger and the string came up.

FX chronograph first string
The first string, where the chronograph failed to record one shot.

What did I want to do next? Why — email the shot string to my computer so I could use it in this blog. I didn’t know which icon to press and as I was looking at all of them a page came up where I could edit the data about the pellet that was used. I tried to enter the data and the software “corrected” me from saying RWS Superdomes to res (whatever that means) superfine. So whatever software is used for this screen, it isn’t optimized for the chronograph. The way it works I’m guessing Siri is behind the screen making corrections to what the committee of millenials at Apple knows I really meant to write. The good news is that the software allows you to blunder on if you make corrections to their “corrected” entry. Goodie!

FX chronograph correction
This is me struggling to correct the data I enter into one of the screens.

Remember — this is what happens when THERE IS NO PAPER MANUAL!!! 

Email the data

I then emailed the data to my computer and here are the results. The average for this 9-shot string of Superdomes today was 948 f.p.s. The high was 960 and the low was 942. That’s a spread of 18 f.p.s. 

When I tested the same rifle and pellet at the same power level in September 2019 the average was 941 f.p.s. and the spread went from a high of 958 down to 933 — a 25 f.p.s. difference. Based on just that we see that the two chronographs agree closely. But I will still test them together in the future.

I like this chrono!

I’m buying this chronograph from Pyramyd Air. I’m doing it because first, Shooting Chrony no longer seems to be in business and I do need a good backup chrono. And second because this FX Radar Pocket Wireless Chronograph frees me from a lot of duties!

Now, some of you don’t own a chronograph yet and you want to know whether this one can be used in all situations. I don’t know the answer to that, but it’s one of the things I plan on looking into.

Summary

The FX Radar Pocket Wireless Chronograph is a very useful tool. The documentation suffers a little, but once you overcome that, the device works well. There is a lot more testing to come before I can pronounce final judgement, but this is one piece of kit I am rooting for!


El Gamo David breakbarrel air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

El Gamo David
The El Gamo David is a lower-powered breakbarrel from the 1960s or’ 70s.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Bear is eaten
  • The new seal
  • However!
  • Where were we?
  • H&N Finale Match Heavy
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • H&N Finale Light
  • Something different
  • RWS Hobbys
  • Air Arms Falcon domes
  • Smooth!
  • Re-test
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Bear is eaten

…and sometimes you eat the bear! As I reported in Part 2 nearly a month ago, the breech seal of the El Gamo David was old and suspect. It was damaged by removing it for inspection. I ordered the replacement breech seal for the rifle from TW Chambers in the UK. It was at my house in less than two weeks.

El Gamo seal Chambers
The El Gamo seal from TW Chambers arrived in less than two weeks.

The new seal

When I saw the new seal I could see that it wasn’t a simple one. El Gamo had formed what looked like an o-ring on top of the much taller seal, which confused me when I first started to take the old seal out. At first I thought it was just an o-ring, but as more came out of the hole and I saw how large it was I thought that it had somehow deformed the top into that shape in the gun over the years. Neither of those was the case, though. El Gamo had made it that way intentionally. There must be a technical advantage to the size of the seal, but I don’t know what it is. Why didn’t El Gamo just cut a shallower groove in the breech and use a commercial o-ring? Like I say, there must be an advantage to doing it this way — I just don’t know what it is.

However!

After ordering the new seal I learned that El Gamo had made this seal in three different sizes — small, medium and large. I wasn’t sure which size the David seal was, though it was so large I felt it had to be the large one.

Then reader Gnom256 contacted me, offering to send me a breech seal for the Gamo Maxima (no longer stocked by Pyramyd Air), which he said should fit the David, as well. Now, Gnom256 lives in Moscow — nearly half a world away from Texas, and since I already had a seal en route I normally would have said no thanks, but because these breech seals came in three sizes I felt it would be good to have options if the Chambers seal didn’t fit. I told Gnom256 what I had learned and he sent me the dimensions of the seal he was sending. It was 10mm high, 7.7mm inner diameter and 14mm outer. I measured the David seal and found it to be the same size so I asked him to please send me a seal, as well. He sent me five! And they are a perfect fit

David seals Gnom
Reader Gnom256 sent me 5 breech seals for the El Gamo David. They are a perfect fit.

The Chambers seal fits the David almost perfectly. It is about 1mm too short, and a thin credit card shim (0.73mm/0.0287-inches) underneath the bottom raises it up to the right height. So the David now has a new breech seal of the correct height.

I used the Chambers seal just to see if my shim idea worked, which it did. I had the seals sent by Gnom256 in reserve in case I had to dig the Chambers seal out again.

Where were we?

Now today’s velocity test can begin. In Part Two I had just tested the H&N Finale Match Heavy pellet and got an average of 480 f.p.s. for a string of ten. The low was 464 and the high was 487, so the spread was 23 f.p.s. Then I examined the breech seal and damaged it while removing it, so I decided to replace it. This is where we will start today.

H&N Finale Match Heavy

I started with the same pellet as in Part 2. Ten H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets now averaged 471 f.p.s. The low was 460 and the high was 486 f.p.s. So the spread was 26 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 4.03 foot pounds at the muzzle. Compared to the rifle with the old breech seal the rifle with the new seal is slightly slower, has a slightly broader variance and generated slightly less energy at the muzzle. Sometimes when you do things like I did they don’t turn out like you expect, but how was I to know that before doing it?

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

The next pellet I tested was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter. Ten of them averaged 449 f.p.s. The low was 431 and the high was 464 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 33 f.p.s. At the average velocity the muzzle energy generated was 3.67 foot-pounds.

H&N Finale Light

Next up was the 7.87-grain H&N Finale Light pellet. They averaged 483 over a string of ten. The low was 470 and the high was 492 f.p.s., so a spread of 22 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated an energy of 4.08 foot pounds.

Something different

At this point in the test I decided to see what effect seating the pellet deep in the breech would have. So I pushed each pellet into the barrel with a ballpoint pen. This time the same 7.87-grain H&N Finale Match Light pellet averaged 516 f.p.s. Wow — an increase of 33 f.p.s.! The spread for this string went from a low of 511 to a high of 521 f.p.s., so a difference of 10 f.p.s. At the average velocity the deep-seated pellet generated 4.65 foot pounds of energy.

Clearly the David seems to “like” its pellet seated deep. The velocity increased, the spread decreased and of course the energy increased with the velocity. So, from this point on in the test, I seated all pellets deep with a ballpoint pen.

RWS Hobbys

I tried to test RWS Hobbys but they fit the breech so tightly that I was unable to seat them deep. Two 7-grain Hobbys generated 449 and 445 f.p.s. and I stopped testing them after that.

Air Arms Falcon domes

The last pellet I tested was the 7.33-grain dome Falcon from Air Arms. These fit the breech well and averaged 551 f.p.s. when seated deep. Wow! Better yet, the spread for a 10-shot string went from 541 to 553 f.p.s. — a difference of just 12 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Falcon generated 4.94 foot-pounds — the highest energy seen in the test thus far.

Smooth!

But best of all, the Falcons shot incredibly smooth! Only a few times in my experience have I experienced a pellet that shot this smoothly. This is definitely a pellet to watch for the David!

Re-test

Having seen such a dramatic change when the pellets were seated deep I went back and shot another string of H&N Match Heavys. Instead of a 471 f.p.s. average they now averaged 506 f.p.s. — a 35 f.p.s. increase. The 26 f.p.s. spread dropped to just 15 f.p.s. — 499 to 516 f.p.s.! At the average velocity this pellet now generates 4.65 foot pounds instead of 4.03 foot pounds. Deep-seating the pellet is the way to go with this rifle.

I also revisited the RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellet. The new average was 487 f.p.s. instead of 449 f.p.s. — a 38 f.p.s. increase! The new spread dropped from 33 f.p.s. to 27 f.p.s. (472 to 499 f.p.s.). The new muzzle energy went up from 3.67 foot pounds to 4.32 foot pounds.

With every pellet tested, deep-seating was the way to go. The difference was dramatic in all areas. I believe we now have not only a good performance baseline on the David, we also know a lot more about how to operate it to get the best it  has to offer.

Trigger pull

I did the cocking effort in Part 2. The David cocks with 15 pounds of effort. But I didn’t test the trigger pull. 

The David trigger is two-stage. Stage one takes a pull of 1 lb. 9 oz. When it stops at stage two the stop is definite. Stage two releases at 5 lbs. 8 oz. I wouldn’t call the trigger release crisp, but it is consistent. The pull feels heavy for as light as this rifle is. Maybe I should pop the stock and see if I can lubricate the trigger parts before shooting for accuracy.

Summary

We are now caught up on the El Gamo David. It is performing well, though a brand new one is probably a little faster, but not enough to worry about it. With the Falcon pellet the David shoots as smooth as any spring piston rifle I’ve ever tested.

Accuracy comes next, with perhaps a brief excursion into the powerplant — or at least the trigger.


The Benjamin Cayden: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Cayden
Benjamin Cayden sidelever repeater.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Adjusting the power
  • DonnyFL Ronin silencer
  • Velocity on high power
  • Velocity on medium power
  • Velocity on low power
  • The trigger
  • Crosman Premiers
  • Shot count
  • Summary

This was a fun test because the Benjamin Cayden gives me lots of things to do. Some, like adjustable power, are things I have dealt with in the past and I’ve figured out good ways to handle them. Others, like the sound of the unmoderated gun firing, are not things I usually deal with. And I have a new sound meter to collect data on that! Let’s get right into the test.

The test

Since the Cayden has adjustable power I thought I would test it with a single pellet and the setting on high, medium and low. That would give us a good idea about the power range as well as the stability at all power ranges. I will also keep track of the reservoir pressure and try to get a shot count, though. as we go.

Adjusting the power

When I got the rifle the power was set high, but not as high as it will go. That was the first thing to do and I discovered that the power adjustment knob doesn’t stick out far enough for me to adjust the power. It’s too close to the wood in the stock for me to get a hold on it, and it turns with some resistance. I had to use the needle-nosed pliers on my Gerber Crucial multi-tool. I worked as carefully as I know how but of course I scratched some of the finish on the knob and the surrounding wood. I set the power as high as it will go and loaded the 12-shot rotary magazine with 10 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets. These 18.13-grain pellets seem ideal for the Cayden’s power level. There are no detents in the power adjustment knob, so the settings can be set wherever you like between both limits. 

The first shot was fired with the rifle exactly as it came from the box. All I did was fill it to 3,000 psi, load the magazine and start shooting. I set my smart phone with the sound meter app up three feet to the left of the muzzle and fired. The sound was loud for sure, but not as loud as I had been anticipating. I would rate it a 4.2 on the 5-point Pyramyd Air noise scale. My sound meter recorded it as 108 dB.

my Cayden
The Cayden I am testing came with straight grain. It’s still handsome! To attach a silencer the muzzle brake must be removed.

Cayden sound unsilencedThe full-power shot registered 108 dB on my sound meter 3 feet from the muzzle.

DonnyFL Ronin silencer

Cameron Brinkerhoff of AirForce Airguns loaned me a DonnyFL Ronin silencer to use with the Cayden. It’s 2-inches in diameter and 6.5 inches long. The rifle looks different with it installed.

Cayden silencer
As you see, the DonnyFL Ronin silencer is large. And it works!

With the silencer installed, the muzzle report from the Cayden on full power was 85.6 dB. That’s a 22.4 dB reduction, which is about what a normal silencer can do. But the Cayden isn’t that loud to begin with, and at 85.6 it’s quieter than most lower-powered breakbarrel spring rifles. It turns the Cayden into a suburban back yard air rifle. On lower power it is even quieter, and we will soon see what we get with lower power.

Cayden silenced
With the DonnyFL silencer installed the report was quieted to 85.6 dB.

Velocity on high power

Let’s see what this Cayden rifle gives us. Ten of the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets averaged 857 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 850 to a high of 865 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 15 f.p.s., which isn’t bad! At the average velocity this pellet generates 29.57 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Velocity on medium power

Next I turned the power down to about halfway between low and high. At that setting ten of the same JSB Jumbo Heavy pellets averaged 715 f.p.s. The low was 703 and the high was 724 so the spread was 21 f.p.s. It’s still close enough for good accuracy at targets out to 35 yards, at least. At the average velocity the pellet generates 20.59 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Velocity on low power

Next I dialed the power to as low as it would go. That still required my needle-nosed pliers. The lowest setting the same JSB pellet averaged 432 f.p.s. The spread ranged from 405 to a high of 444 f.p.s. which is 39 f.p.s. difference. That will work for close-in targets, but beyond 20 yards or so you might want to set the power a little higher. At the average velocity the pellet now produces 7.51 foot-pounds at the muzzle. That is a broad range of adjustability! At the end of this test the reservoir that started at 3,000 psi registered 2,500 psi.

The trigger

First I must remark that the safety DOES NOT set automatically. Thank you, Crosman, for that! Secondly, the safety is very easy to operate with the trigger finger. It’s exactly what I want to see on a hunting air rifle.

Next, I played with the trigger some without firing the rifle before this test started. I was prepared not to like it and to dive into all the adjustments. But there aren’t any, other than the location of the curved trigger shoe can be swiveled around the trigger post.

Cayden trigger
The trigger shoe can be rotated after loosening a small Allen screw on the opposite side.

The trigger is two-stage. The first stage is very short and stage two that was creepy during my evaluation before this test has transformed into a crisp 2 lbs. 13 oz. break.

Actually there is one unannounced trigger adjustment. I found out about it too late to get it into this report, but I will look at it for you in the next report.

More velocity testing

To this point I had fired 30 shots — 10 at each power setting. I wanted to test a different pellet on high power but was the rifle still shooting as powerfully as before? I shot one more JSB Jumbo Heavy pellet at it went out at 861 f.p.s. That’s spot on!

Crosman Premiers

I now loaded 10 Crosman Premiers into the magazine and fired a string. They averaged 946 f.p.s. The low was 939 and the high was 952 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 13 f.p.s. At the average velocity this 14.3-grain pellet produced 28.42 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Shot count

The pressure in the reservoir now reads 2,200 psi. That should be close to the point that the rifle needs to be refilled.  So I shot another string of JSB 18.13-grain pellets on high power to see where things were. Let’s look at it.

Shot……….Vel.
1……….….852
2……….….855
3……….….852
4……….….850
5…….…….854
6……….….852
7……….….847
8…….…….845
9……….….842
10…………839
11………….833
12………….834

The Cayden has fallen off the power curve at shot 7. I didn’t tell you that I also fired two blank shots on high power to measure the trigger pull. So, on this fill, doing all we have done, the Cayden has given us 54 shots.

Summary

The first thing I need to tell you is the power adjustmernt knob hasa freed up. It did so after the first 30 shots. It’s still not easy, but I no longer need tools.

We are not finished with the velocity test. Part 3 will be a continuation, because there is a lot to learn about this rifle. How large a pellet can be shot? What is the most power we can get? How slow can it shoot and still keep the shots under a 30 f.p.s. spread? Stay tuned.


Walther LGR Universal: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Walther LGR
Walther LGR.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • LGR Universal
  • Velocity RWS R10 Pistol pellets
  • Velocity Gamo Match pellets
  • Velocity RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • What I didn’t tell you
  • Oh phooey!
  • Pumping effort
  • Trigger
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity and other performance of the Walther LGR Universal rifle. And the first thing to note is I have changed the model name.

LGR Universal

Reader Kevin pointed out that my rifle is an LGR Universal. What distinguishes it as a Universal are several things. The walnut stock was found on the Universal but not on the basic LGR. That one had a beech stock. The walnut Universal stock was also stippled at the pistol grip and on the forearm. The adjustable cheekpiece and buttpad also are only found on the Universal. The performance of both air rifles is the same, the Universal is just an upgraded model. We saw the same thing in the Weihrauch line of match rifles. The HW55 Custom Match was the top model and the HW55 SM was the standard. There is also a rare SF model HW55 that did not have the barrel lock that’s found on all the other HW 55s, but that rifle — a cheapie in its day — is now the rarest HW55 of all!

Velocity RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets

The rifle I’m testing averaged 499 f.p.s. with RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. The spread went from a low of 488 to a high of 515 f.p.s., a difference of 27 f.p.s. The spread is a little too high and the velocity is also too low for an LGR. I hasve more to say at the end of the report.

Velocity Gamo Match pellets

Next I tried 10 Gamo Match pellets. They averaged 468 f.p.s., with a low of 438 and a high of 483 f.p.s. — a spread of 45 f.p.s.

Velocity RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

The last pellet I tested was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter. It averaged 448 f.p.s for 10 shots. The low was 423 and the high was 460 f.p.s. — a difference of 37 f.p.s.

What I didn’t tell you

I didn’t tell you that two weeks ago I tested the LGR’s velocity with R10 pellets and got a first shot speed of 399 f.p.s. Shot 2 was just over 400 f.p.s. and the fourth shot I fired went out at 436 f.p.s. From that I knew that the seals in the rifle were hard — something I have written about several times. Read Part 2 of my test of the IZH 46M. And I knew what to do about it. I stood the rifle on its butt and dropped about 5 drops of automatic transmission fluid sealant down the bore. I let it run down the barrel and through the transfer port for several days and then I shot the rifle several more times. I didn’t chronograph it again until today — about two weeks after treating it, and you see what happened. The rifle increased in velocity significantly! But wait, there’s more!

After running these tests and seeing the results, something dawned on me. The former owner of this LGR had sent me a small pack of breech seals for the flip up transfer port. He even wrote the size of 6.8 X 1.9mm on the package.  When the rifle was unpacked I noticed that the o-ring on the flip-up air transfer port was missing and I hadn’t found the packager of breech seals yet, so I went to my hiuge assortment of metric o-rings and found one that seemed to fit. Later I found the package of breech seals and thought — what the heck?

Well after this velocity test I remember that I had them so I removed the o-ring I had put in and replaced it with one that came with the rifle. Then I shot 10 more RWS R10 Pistol pellets. This time the average was 505 f.p.s. —p not that much  faster than 499 f.p.s., but the spread was reduced from 27 f.p.s. to 16 f.p.s. (493 to 509 f.p.s.).

Oh phooey!

If I do it over for one I have to do it over for all. 

So 10 more Gamo Match pellets averaged 463 f.p.s  with a spread from 438 to 490 f.p.s. so, the average decreased by 5 f.p.s.  by and the spread increased by 7 f.p.s. I don’t think the LGR likes the Gamo Match pellet.

Ten more RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets averaged 441 f.p.s. — 7 f.p.s. slower than before. The spread was 22 f.p.s., compared to 37 f.p.s. previously.

I think the new breech seal helped performance. It stabilized it, rather than speeding it up that much. But I do know a way to speed this rifle up. Pump the pump partially about 20 times for the first shot and you get a velocity with R10 Pistol pellets of 532 f.p.s. After that 3-5 partial pumps per shot keeps the velocity above 530 f.p.s. So, with fresh seals that’s what you might expect — that or a little more.

Pumping effort

The LGR takes 19 pounds of force to close the pump arm. While that sound low, remember it happens between both hands, so it does wear on your arms.

Trigger

I measured the two stage trigger at 3.3 ounces for stage one and 5.5 ounces for stage two. And I didn’t forget that question of how the trigger blade can be canted from side to side, so looky here.

Walther LGR trigger
The same screw that loosens the trigger to slide back and forth on the round bar also allows it to swing from side to side — a little. It doesn’t move that much!

Summary

This LGR is slow, but not enough to worry about. It will still shoot as well at these velocities as it would if it were 75 f.p.s. faster. I’m willing to live with that. If I need more speed Neal Stepp’s store is about 25 miles from where I live.

I have wanted to shoot one of these for so many years and now I get the opportunity! Next time we check accuracy.


Diana Mauser K98 PCP rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Mauser
Diana Mauser K98 PCP.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Fill
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • Fill to 200 bar
  • Discharge sound
  • Discussion 1
  • Beeman Kodiak
  • Pellet feed with the single-shot tray
  • H&N Hollow Point
  • Discussion 2
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we test the velocity and power of the Diana K98 PCP rifle. According to the description on the Pyramyd Air web page, this is a 26-foot-pound air rifle in the .22 caliber I am testing. This information helps me select the right pellets to test. A pneumatic in this power range is probably best with medium-weight to heavyweight pellets, though I will also test lightweights, just so we know.

Fill

I tried to fill the rifle to 200 bar/2900 psi — the recommended fill pressure, but I waited an instant too long to shut the tank valve and the fill went to 3,000. It’s only 100 psi more.

I will comment now that Diana does not supply a plug to cover the fill port, to prevent dirt from entering and getting in the gun. It won’t affect me because I am testing indoors, but if you want to carry the rifle outdoors, I recommend finding a way to cover that hole. Even a piece of duct tape will work.

The rifle has a magazine that I will also test, but for most of today’s testing I plan to use the single shot tray that comes with the rifle. Let’s get started.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy

I got a strange string from the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellet. I will show it to you and then discuss it.

Shot……….Vel
1…………..794
2…………..812
3…………..827
4…………..840
5…………..842
6…………..851
7…………..did not register
8…………..869 onboard pressure gauge read 2800 psi.
9…………..871
10…………876
11…………869
12…………871
13…………862
14…………857
15…………846
16…………832
17…………816
18…………819
19…………803
20…………789
Stopped.

Okay, this is a very peaked velocity curve without much of a flat spot. At the highest velocity of 876 f.p.s  on shot 10 this pellet generates 30.9 foot-pounds. That’s well above the 26 foot-pounds it is rated for. With this pellet that energy would be developed at 804 f.p.s. So, if I take that as the standard and accept all 20 shots shown, the rifle got 20 shots that had an 87 f.p.s. spread in velocity.

Fill to 200 bar

I think that spread is too large for shooting anything past about 20 yards. What would happen if I filled the rifle to the recommended 200 bar/2900 psi and shot the same pellet? I was very careful to do that on the next fill. Let’s see what this same JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellet does.

Shot……….Vel
1…………..857
2…………..868
3…………..867
4…………..880
5…………..878
6…………..878
7…………..871
8…………..867
9…………..856
10…………848 gauge read 1400 psi
11…………846
12…………831
13…………818
Stopped.

Diana Mauser gauge
After shot 10 the gauge looked like this.

This time I got an 11-shot string that went from a low of 848 f.p.s. to a high of 880 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 32 f.p.s. It’s a lot tighter than 87 f.p.s. At the high velocity the energy generated was 31.18 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Discharge sound

This Diana Mauser is a suburban backyard air rifle. When it fires it sounds like a mouse cough! The sound is negligible — maybe a 1.9 to 2.0 on the 5-point scale.

Discussion 1

It seems what we have here is a PCP that’s much more powerful than advertised, and also short on breath. It reminds me of the Korean PCPs of the 1990s that got 10 shots and had an equally large spread. Their reservoirs were larger so they put out 65+ foot pounds at their top, but the performance curve is similar. If this isn’t a good example of why a chronograph is an important tool for the airgunner I don’t know what is.

Given the power that’s available I tested a heavier pellet next.

Beeman Kodiak

The .22-caliber Beeman Kodiak pellet is obsolete, but it’s identical to the H&N Baracuda. It weighs 21.14-grains. I carefully filled to 200 bar again and shot the following string.

Shot……….Vel
1…………..798
2…………..791
3…………..816
4…………..823
5…………..830
6…………..830
7…………..826
8…………..833
9…………..824
10…………824
11…………811
12…………798 gauge read 1400 psi
13…………786
Stopped.

At the highest velocity this pellet generated 32.35 foot-pounds. I’m saying there were 12 good shots in this string that ranged from a low of 791 to a high of 833 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 42 f.p.s. At the lowest velocity the energy developed was 29.38 foot-pounds. Because of that, if you stop shooting at 12 shots after a 200-bar fill with this pellet in this rifle, you will be at or above 30 foot-pounds, which is well above the advertised energy.

Eight of the shots in this string (shots 3 through 10) are within 17 f.p.s. of each other. The rifle does seem to like the heavier pellets over the lighter ones.

Pellet feed with the single-shot tray

I noticed that if I held the rifle with the muzzle up while loading, the pellet could slide back on the single-shot tray into the receiver. I took a picture for you, but I don’t think it is a problem. The groove for the pellet continues on back into the receiver and when I pushed the bolt forward the pellet came out of the receiver and loaded correctly every time.

Diana Mauser pellet in receiver
When the muzzle is held up the pellet can slide back on the single-shot tray and disappear into the receiver like this. That’s the nose of a JSB dome. It still seems to feed well.

H&N Hollow Point

I was out of .22 Hobby pellets so I substituted 12.65-grain H&N Hollow Points. They are no longer available but they should give you an idea of what a lighter pellet will do. I filled the rifle to 200 bar. I will tell you right now that this string was a real surprise!

Shot……….Vel
1…………..991
2…………..976
3…………..972
4…………..975
5…………..972
6…………..955
7…………..964
8…………..961
9…………..942
10…………935
11…………930 gauge read 1400 psi
Stopped.

Wow! I didn’t expect that! An almost straight drop from the first shot to the last. At the highest velocity this 12.65-grain pellet generated 27.59 foot-pounds. At the slowest velocity of 930 f.p.s. it generated 24.30 foot-pounds. This string of 11 shots varied by 61 f.p.s. I think the Mauser PCP doesn’t care for lightweight pellets!

These hollowpoints have a sharp shoulder that caught on the transfer port twice while shooting this string. When that happened I backed off on the bolt and tried again and the pellet went in both times.

Discussion 2

Well, now we know that there are just 10 or 11 shots on a fill — depending on the pellet. We also know that the rifle prefers heavier pellets.

Testing the magazine and shot count

Time to test the function of the magazine. I tested it with the 18.13-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets for which we have a good baseline. And in this string I got another surprise — more shots on the fill. Is the rifle breaking in?

Shot……….Vel
1…………..837
2…………..839
3…………..850
4…………..855
5…………..863
6…………..874
7…………..874
8…………..880
9…………..877
10…………873
11…………865
12…………857 gauge read 1400 psi
13…………849
14…………839
15…………828 gauge read 1200 psi
16…………817
17…………did not register
18…………785 gauge read 1100 psi

This string gave 15 shots that stayed within 52 f.p.s. Fourteen of them are within 43 f.p.s. Those 14 shots were between the fill of 2900 psi (200 bar) and the reading that was just above 1200 psi. The rifle may be breaking in and may get even more shots per fill than what we see here after more shooting.

Will it continue to get more shots per fill? I don’t know but it’s very possible. There could be as many as 20 good shots on a fill when the gun is fully broken in. I believe I will return and test the velocity after the accuracy testing is complete.

Trigger pull

The Mauser PCP trigger is 2-stage. Stage 1 is light, at 1 lb. 5 oz. Stage 2 though is heavy and creepy. It breaks at well over 12 lbs. which is the limit of my electronic gauge. It doesn’t feel that heavy but I measured it repeatedly and it pegged the gauge every time. It’s no target trigger for sure but I don’t think it will bother most shooters if they know what to expect going in.

Summary

Well, the Diana Mauser PCP is certainly a different air rifle! It has way more power than advertised and is a bit short on the shot count. I will return and test that again after the rifle has a lot more shots on it.

The rifle feeds smoothly from both the magazine and the single shot tray. Domed pellet seem to do the best.

If the Mauser is accurate it will make a good hunting or pest rifle, as well as a good general shooter. Just carry a small air tank to keep it filled.

I plan to shoot targets next. I will use the open sights and shoot from 10 meters. Stay tuned!


Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle Gen2: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Fortitude
The Generation II Benjamin Fortitude.

This report covers:

Through the receiver
Man plans…
Power adjust instructions
Testing the rifle  at its lowest power
High power
Adjusting the power down
Air Arms Falcon pellets
How is the air?
What I haven’t told you
Summary

Today we continue the velocity test of the Benjamin Fortitude Generation 2. We are doing this because Crosman has made the Fortitude velocity adjustable by the owner. 

Through the receiver

The Fortitude allows the user to both adjust the velocity as well as depressurizing the rifle in case of an overfill or a need for maintenance. The optional degassing tool fits through the hollow head of the Allen screw that adjusts the velocity, so you use an Allen wrench to adjust power. It’s a regular 3/16-inch Allen wrench, and the head of the bolt that must be turned is near enough to the end of the receiver that the short end of the wrench will work. Both the power adjustment wrench and the degassing tool fit through an opening in the rear of the receiver. The Allen bolt head has been drilled out so the degassing tool will fit through, so don’t be fooled by the looks.

Fortitude power adjust
You are looking through the drilled-out head of the Allen screw that’s used to adjust power. The degassing tool fits through this hole. It’s hard to see. Don’t miss it.

Man plans…

… and God laughs! That is a non-scriptural saying that I find to be very true. The Scottish poet, Robert Burnes, said it in a different way in the poem, To a Mouse. “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”  When I started this report I was already writing it in my head and I wanted to say to you that today would be a short report because there wasn’t much to do. Boy — was that wrong!

Power adjust instructions

The instructions for adjusting the Fortitude’s power are not in the manual. They are on a separate sheet of paper in the plastic bag with the manual and magazine. And here they are if you lose yours.

Fortitude power adjust instructions
The power ajustment instructions.

Read the instructions and follow them to the letter. But because I knew better, I fooled around for some time, and had to back up and do it by the book. First, let all the tension off the hammer spring.

Testing the rifle  at its lowest power

In the last velocity test I ran out of Crosman Premier Heavy pellets, so I switched to JSB Exact Heavys that averaged around 790 f.p.s. at the end of the last test. On the lowest power I got the following results.

Shot……..Vel
1…………482
2…………493
3…………482
4…………489
5…………463
6…………459
7…………450
8…………448
9…………451
10………..463

What happened? Why did the velocity drop like that? I waited 15 seconds between each shot as I did at the end of the last report, but by shot seven I started waiting 30 seconds between shots. As you see, it didn’t change much.

So I loaded the magazine with another 10 of the same pellets and started a second string — this time with 30 seconds between shots. Let’s look.

Shot……..Vel
1…………477
2…………448
3…………454
4…………363
5…………457
6…………380
7…………396
8…………335
9…………327
10………..353

Now I was really puzzled. And then I remembered my time at AirForce. We could not get the TalonSS to be as consistent at it’s lowest power setting. It wasn’t this bad, but it did vary more than it should. That was what inspired the MicroMeter valve and tank.

I wondered whether one turn of the power adjustment up would stabilize things. So I put one turn on the adjustment and retested with the same pellet.

Shot……..Vel
1…………588
2…………591
3…………587
4…………565
5…………579
6…………578
7…………578
8…………557
9…………559
10………..585

The average for this string is 577 f.p.s. The spread is 34 f.p.s. which is a lot, but it’s less than either of the two previous strings. I think if I wanted to shoot this Fortitude at low power it would have to be with at least one full turn up from the lowest setting.

High power

The instructions say for the highest power to turn the power adjustment screw 6 turns up from the lowest setting. Well, I did that and then I added an extra half turn — just in case. That was my airgunner move. The result was a rifle that would not cock! Read the instructions and follow them TO THE LETTER! I had to turn the power all the way back to the lowest setting, which is where the adjustment screw stops turning, and then carefully turn it up SIX turns and no more!

Shot……..Vel
1…………825
2…………811
3…………814
4…………808
5…………816
6…………808
7…………806
8…………809
9…………794
10………..801

The average for this string is 809 f.p.s. at that speed this 10.34-grain pellet develops 15.03 foot pounds at the muzzle. The spread ranges from 794 to 825 — a difference of 31 f.p.s. So it’s about at stable on high power as it is on low power plus one turn up.

Adjusting the power down

Now I wanted to see what sort of power I got by turning the power adjuster one turn lower. The factory setting is 4 turns up, which is two turns down from the top and gives 790 f.p.s. with this pellet. What does one turn down give me?

Shot……..Vel
1…………800
2…………799
3…………812
4…………812
5…………813
6…………810
7…………802
8…………799
9…………811
10………..801

This string averaged 807 f.p.s. the spread went from a low of 799 to a high of 813— a difference of 14 f.p.s. This is the tightest spread we have seen with this pellet. I’m going to leave the power set here for now.

Air Arms Falcon pellets

Next I tried some 7.33-grain Air Arms Falcon domes at this same power setting. Here is what I got.

Shot……..Vel
1…………905
2…………899
3…………896
4…………898
5…………898
6…………897
7…………898
8…………889
9…………888
10………..891

The average for Falcons is 896 f.p.s. with a spread from 888 to 905. That’s a difference of 17 f.p.s. Given what we have seen with the first pellet I think that spread may be a tight one for this pellet.

How is the air?

The rifle was sitting at 2,800 psi when this test started. I have fired 60 shots and the gauge now reads 2,300 psi. Based on what was learned in the Part 2 testing, there are a lot more shots remaining.

What I haven’t told you

I put this little admission at the end of today’s report, though it happened in the very beginning. I knew I wanted to write about the Fortitude today and I knew I had already done the velocity test, so I thought it was time for the first accuracy test. I spent about 45 minutes trying out different scopes and mounts, only to settle on the Meopta Optika6. I had it mounted and ready to start shooting when I read Part 2 thoroughly and discovered there was still more velocity testing to be done. The good news is the scope is ready to go and it will be quick the next time.

Look at the 8th shot in each string. It’s usually the slowest shot in the string. I don’t know why it is, but that should be remembered.

Summary

The Fortitude Gen2 handles air extremely well, but it does not get tight shot strings. That may make very little difference when we get to accuracy, and I think the accuracy testing should be done at the current power setting.

We are talking about a PPP rifle here, and I believe the Fortitude is delivering. We all saw the test group that was sent with the rifle. And I established that I can handle the trigger in today’s test, so I know I am ready to move on.


Diana 27S: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 27S
Diana 27S.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • SHOT Show
  • Odd-sized breech seal
  • Grainger
  • Velocity with Air Arms Falcon pellets
  • Fooled around
  • WHAT!!!?
  • On with the test — JSB Exact Heavy
  • Chronograph error
  • Cocking
  • 27S
  • Cocking behavior
  • Firing behavior
  • RWS Hobby
  • Summary

SHOT Show

I’m at the SHOT Show today. Today is Media Day At The Range, so I’m looking at all the new airguns that are on the range in Boulder City. Yesterday I went to Sig Range Day, so tomorrow I will have a report on both events. The show opens on Tuesday, so the Wednesday blog will be my first report from there.

Today we look at the velocity of the Diana 27S we are testing. If you recall, in Part 2 the breech seal failed and I couldn’t test the rifle. I replaced the seal with a temporary leather one and the velocity jumped from the mid-300s to the high 600s. I said then that it was the largest velocity increase I have ever seen from just replacing a breech seal. I expected a gain of 60-80 f.p.s. Several readers made similar comments.

Odd-sized breech seal

When I measured the old seal I expected to find numbers that were even, numbers that made sense! Instead I found the old seal’s material diameter (the thickness of the ring) was 2.4mm. The inside diameter was 8.3mm and the outside diameter was 13.1mm. Okay, where is the camera — I’m on Candid Camera, right? I expected a ring with a thickness of 2.5mm, an ID of 8.5mm and an OD of 13mm. Who would make something common like an o-ring with such random and odd dimensions? The ring wasn’t designed for Diana. Diana selected the ring from what was available and designed their airguns to fit.

Apparently, though, someone did design a ring like this because when I went to Grainger looking for one, there it was — 2.4mm by 8.3mm by 13.1mm! The reason I was so skeptical is because when it comes to measuring things I’m a cut-three-times-measure-once-and-then-hire-somebody-else-to-do-the-job kinda guy. But, listening to all of you guys with skills, I figured I could at least give it a go — might provide some fodder for a funny blog!

Grainger

So I placed an order with Grainger for 25 o-rings. I have about 6-8 Dianas that need these seals, and the way I love these guns more can come at any time. The rings arrived last week, and, with considerable trepidation, I installed one in the 27S. Then I set up the chronograph and fired the first tentative shot.

Diana 27S breech seal
The new o-ring/breech seal from Gainger fit perfectly.

Velocity with Air Arms Falcon pellets

Okay guys, we will start the velocity test with the Air Arms Falcon dome pellet. Ten Falcons averaged 689 f.p.s., for an average muzzle energy of 7.73 foot-pounds. Remember — the magic number of 671 f.p.s. is the velocity at which the energy of the pellet in foot-pounds is equal to the pellet’s weight in grains.

The spread ranged from a low of 672 to a high of 710 f.p.s. That’s 38 f.p.s., which is high.

Fooled around

After that I shot some more Falcons and got a string of three that measured 320, 309 and 310 f.p.s. — WHAT!!!?

WHAT!!!?

Right after installing the new breech seal and shooting the gun at velocities in the 690s, I suddenly got one at 374 f.p.s. And that is when it hit me. The new breech seal DOES NOT add 300 f.p.s. to the velocity of the rifle! I had shot through the chronograph in such a way that the first skyscreen was triggered at the wrong time. I know that because I can now do it anytime I want.

It isn’t common but I have seen this phenomenon before. If the muzzle of the gun is too close to the first skyscreen (with Shooting Chrony chronographs) you will get a reading like this. In the case of this Diana 27S I also have to point the barrel slightly downward by a few inches at 3 feet to make it happen every time. That is what happened in the last test, but I didn’t catch it until today. It was just the way I was sitting that made it happen. Apparently the Diana 27S is just long enough to put the muzzle in the exact right spot for this to happen.

So — chronograph users beware. And everybody — a new breech seal should not increase velocity by 300 f.p.s. unless there was no seal to begin with!

On with the test — JSB Exact Heavy

Next up is the JSB Exact Heavy pellet. At 10.34-grains this dome is on the heavy side for a rifle of this power but I have seen excellent results from such pellets in weaker airguns in the past. Ten JSB Heavys averaged 555 f.p.s. from the 27S. The spread went from 552 to 560 f.p.s., so a difference of just 8 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generates 7.07 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Chronograph error

I got two “Error 2” messages on this string. That message means that skyscreen 2 isn’t seeing the pellet. This is something I am familiar with. Unless the pellet missed passing over the skyscreen it means something has fallen onto the widow above the screen’s sensor. As close as I shoot I knew I wasn’t missing the screen, so it had to be an obstruction. When I looked I saw exactly what it was and was able to clean the screen and get going again.

Diana 27S skyscreen
I shoot with the chrono so close to the pellet trap that stuff sometimes falls on skyscreen 2. There is a smashed lead pellet on the left and a large piece of paper on the right. Remove all the stuff and wipe the screen window with a cotton swab and you’re back in business!

Cocking

I reported in Part 2 that the 27S cocks with 24 lbs. of effort. That’s more than I expect from a Diana 27, but this isn’t a 27 — it’s a 27S.

27S

The Brits call the 27S the 27 Super, and apparently it was sold to them under that name. They also know of a 35 Super model that I never heard of. Well, looking at both the cocking effort and just the velocities we have seen thus far I think the 27S is more like the Diana 35 than it is like the Diana 27. In fact, the Diana 35 that I tested and tuned last year shoots at lower velocities than this one.

Cocking behavior

The 27S cocks with a slight scraping noise that is common to rifles that have two-piece articulated cocking links. The solution is lubrication, which I will apply when I go inside.

Firing behavior

This rifle shoots with a jolt and a lot of buzz that isn’t common for the other vintage Dianas I have experienced. I will have a look around inside for what can be done and also to see what that anti-beartrap mechanism looks like. But while I’m inside I will lube the rifle with Tune in a Tube in both the mainspring and ball bearing trigger areas. In fact, I am curious to see whether the ball bearing trigger in the 27S looks like the one in a 27 or the one in the 35 that has a few additional parts.

RWS Hobby

This is the last pellet to be tested. RWS Hobby was the speed demon of its day, which was contemporary with the vintage Diana line we have examined. I have found in recent tests that Falcon pellets, though slightly heavier, are often faster, but we shall see.

Ten Hobbys averaged 660 f.p.s., so true to form they are a little slower than Falcons. However, the Diana 35 that I tuned last year averaged 601 f.p.s. with a 26 f.p.s. velocity spread with Hobbys. Today the 27S low was 650 and the high was 671 f.p.s., so the spread was 31 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Hobby generates 6.77 foot pounds.

Summary

That’s it for this report. The new breech seal tells us what we need to know about this rifle — it’s in good condition and probably shooting like it did when new.

I would also like to add that today was a big learning day. We learned or were reminded about some quirks of chronographs that I hope will help some of you.

The next report will be a disassembly and examination of the insides of the 27S. And, if it cooperates, I will give it a lube tune and button it back up for another velocity and firing behavior report to follow. So, stay tuned!