The Beeman R7 – A Genuine Classic & Some Interesting Non-Lead Ammo

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Beeman R7 is a classic air rifle well loved by many airgunners.

When I first began to get interested in adult precision airguns nearly 10 years ago, I remember reading a quote from an airgunner who said, in effect, “Of all the airguns I own, the Beeman R7 would be the last one I would sell.”

At the time, I didn’t really “get” what he was saying, but now that I’ve owned an R7 for a few years, I understand what he meant completely. The R7 is a true classic, an air rifle that just about all airgunners love.

Here’s why — the R7 is a relatively small and light air rifle that generates around 6 fp of energy (the same energy level usually found in Olympic match air rifles). The R7 measures a hair over 40 inches from end to end and weighs 6.1 pounds. The upshot is that there is roughly one pound of weight per foot-pound of energy, and that makes the R7 extremely easy to shoot well.

(An aside: there are two versions of the R7, one in .177 cal., the other in .20 cal. I have experience only with the .177 version. A casual survey of some of my shooting friends indicates you can’t believe the 700 fps velocity figure that Beeman puts out for the .177 version; most untuned R7s shoot in the high 500s, say, 560-590 fps, with “normal” weight pellets.)

To get the R7 ready for shooting, you crank the barrel down until it latches (it takes less than 20 pounds of cocking effort), stuff a pellet into the breech, return the barrel to its original position, click off the safety, and you’re good to go. The R7 is equipped with Weihrauch’s famous two-stage Rekord trigger which is very crisp and nicely adjustable.

My experience – and that of many R7 shooters I’ve spoken to – is that the R7 is remarkably UN-finicky about how you shoot it. You can hold it loosely or hold it tight; shoot it off a rest or from a sitting position. Whatever you do, it seems, the R7 shoots well. One shooter I met said, “Why do I pull my R7 tight into my shoulder like a powder-burning rifle? Because I can!”

And there is a whole lot you can do with an R7, like shoot field target or defend the birdfeeder. My brother-in-law won the Hunter Class at a Field Target match while shooting an R7. He beat me, and I was shooting another R7, and so was the fellow who took fourth place. We’ve spent many happy hours doing high-accuracy plinking with our R7s.

Recently Greg at Airguns of Arizona asked me to try some Dynamic SN-1 non-toxic “air bullets.” “I think you’ll like them,” he said. “We’ve had very good luck with them.”

Frankly, I had my doubts. I had tried some ultra-light non-lead pellets previously and while they were very fast (nearly 100 fps faster than CPLs in my R7), the accuracy was dreadful at anything beyond close range.

Nevertheless, the SN-1 pellets arrived, and I brought them with me the next time I visited my brother-in-law to do some shooting with our R7s. I shot for a while with Crosman Premier Lights (CPLs) and then gave the SN-1 pellets a try. The SN-1s weigh (nominally) 7.95 grains, which is roughly the same as the CPLs. I was shocked to find that, at 50 feet, not only did the SN-1 pellets group very well, they were hitting the same point of impact as the CPLs!

Emboldened by this experiment, I tried the SN-1 pellets in an RWS P5 spring-piston pistol. This time, I did get a point of impact change, but the SN-1s grouped very well, better in fact than the pellet the P5 previously “liked.” Casual experimentation with metal cans indicates that the SN-1 pellets deliver much better penetration than conventional lead pellets.

The bottom line is that I was very pleasantly surprised by the Dynamic SN-1 non-lead pellets and plan further experimentation with them.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

Jock Elliott


  1. Harold says:

    I’m glad to hear that the SN1 works for the R7. I only shoot non-lead pellets now and have been wondering how they fair in the Weihrauch rifles. I got a box from AOA a while back for my RWS34. I was somewhat frustrated to find that a fraction of the pellets are “fat” and feels very tight whenfeeding into breach. The little tail skirt of the pellet tends to hang outside the breach. the tight ones are often stuck at the breach end after discharge. Some take 4 -5 discharges to shoot out of the barrel!
    But this story has a happy ending. A few days ago I started to push the pellet in with the jacket of a ball pen, sort of a pellet seater. The pellet gets pushed completely into the barrel, and they all shoot out fast and very accurate. What a joy! The trick works great for the H&N green pellets also. Now the non-leads are just as fun as the lead ones out of my 34.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for sharing your experience with the non-lead pellets.

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