Posts Tagged ‘air rifle’

Just last night I had an encounter with a fellow who is an experienced hunter, firearms user, and sportsman, and he knows very little about airguns. His lack of knowledge of about airguns about airguns isn’t a rare thing. Most of the experienced sportsmen that I know have very little conception of the world of adult precision airguns. Their knowledge is pretty much limited to what can be found on the shelves of the big-box stores, and there the packaging screams: 1200 feet per second, 1300 feet per second, 1500 feet per second! This leaves the consumer to assume that more feet per second is somehow better, and it does the consumer a gross dis-service in making a buying decision.

So let’s suppose that you think maybe it would be neat to try airgunning, but you really don’t have a clue what to buy.

392-397

First on my list would be a Benjamin 392. This is a solidly made single-shot, bolt-action, .22 caliber, multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle. It is easy to shoot well, delivers enough power for small game hunting or pest control, and with care should last for decades. I would buy one with a Williams peep sight. Scoping the 392, or its .177 caliber brother the 397, is difficult.

Model-34

Next up would be the highly respected RWS Model 34. This is a single-shot, break-barrel air rifle available in .177 or .22 with power enough for hunting or field targe. Like all spring-piston air rifles, it requires some care to shoot well. The build quality is excellent, and the trigger is far better than you will find in the typical big-box break-barrel springer. In addition, the Model 34 is easy to mount a scope on.

HW30S

Third is the Weihrauch HW30S. This is a lower-power break-air rifle that is easy to cock, offers excellent accuracy, and is perhaps the easiest springer to shoot well. Many airgunners I know say it is the last air rifle they would sell. It can be readily scoped, the build quality is outstanding, and it will deliver decades of service with the occasional rebuild. It can be used for pest control and garden defense with careful shot placement at close range.

WAL-LGV-Master

My favorite springer is the Walther LGV. These are break-barrel, single-shot spring-piston air rifles that are easy to cock and incredibly smooth to shoot. With a scope mounted, you could hunt, plink, shoot field target with a huge grin on your face. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one to a friend.

When it comes to pre-charged pneumatic rifles, it’s hard to go wrong. Virtually all of them will deliver one-inch groups at fifty yards under good conditions with the right pellet.

L1377C

Turning to air pistols, the Crosman 1377c is an excellent starter pistol that people love to customize. It’s a single-shot, bolt-action, .177 caliber pistol that is fun to shoot and can be used for small pest control at close range. The rear sight, however, requires a safecracker’s touch to adjust.

Triumph%20747

If you want pure, accurate, air pistol shooting fun, the Daisy Avanti Triumph 747 http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/Daisy%20Triumph%20747.html can’t be beat. It’s a single-stroke pneumatic pistol that’s wimpy in power and no good for pest control or hunting but highly accurate, and people use them all the time in air pistol silhouette matches.

HW45

If you want more power and a challenge, I suggest any of the Weihrauch HW45 pistols. These are spring-pistol air pistols that are tricky to shoot well but are fun to shoot and master. They also offer enough power for defending the birdfeeder at short range.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

 

 

 

SONY DSC

The folks who shoot air rifle field target are pretty serious about their accuracy. In the dozen or so years that I have been fooling around with adult precision air rifles, I have yet to meet a field target competitor who has his (or her) rifle set up to shoot faster than someplace in the low 900 feet per second range. I get the feeling that many of them (if they are not shooting in the slower, less powerful international class) have their rifles set up to shoot around 930 fps.

The reason for that is pretty simple: 1100 fps is the speed of sound at sea level. As your pellet approaches the speed of sound, it gets into a region of turbulence that screws up accuracy. If you ever saw the movie The Right Stuff, you might recall that scene in which Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier, and as his plane approaches it, he gets bounced around by massive turbulence. That turbulence region occurs whether you are approaching the sound barrier from below or are dropping down and through the sound barrier from a higher velocity. That’s why firearms varminters, who pop prairie dogs and woodchucks at long range, make it a point to keep their bullets well above the 1,100 fps from the muzzle of their rifle all the way to the target.

Okay, so what does that mean for you as an airgunner. Answer: you are going to be shooting slower that 1,000 fps and you are going to have to deal with the trajectory of your pellet. So, for example, if your air rifle is zeroed so that the pellet will land exactly where the crosshairs are pointed at 20 yards, at 55 yards, you are going to have to deal with the pellets dropping several inches below where the crosshairs meet.

Some shooters compensate for the pellet drop by spinning the elevation knob a predetermined numbers of clicks to make the shot fall where the crosshairs are pointed. The method that I prefer is to use a mil-dot scope which has multiple aiming points and then map where the shot falls at various ranges on a diagram of the mil-dot reticle. Below is a picture of the reticle map that Hans Apelles prepared for the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship a couple of years ago.

NE Championship and Pistol ft 010

The other factor that air rifle shooters must compensate for is the wind, and that’s where the MTC Mamba scope comes in. It has something called the Small Calibre Ballistic (SCB) reticle that not only has multiple aiming points like a mil-dot reticle, but it also has horizontal extensions on the lower aiming points that allow the shooter to more closely estimate how much to move the point of aim to compensate for the wind.

retSCBcombined

If you use a “windicator” – a feather or a bit of yarn hanging from the barrel of your rifle that indicates the strength of the wind – with some practice, you can correlate the movement of the windicator with how much you have to “stand off” with the SCB reticle. It’s a slick system that works very well.

Even better, scope delivers bright, clear views and is extremely solid built. It is the only scope that I am aware of that has metal flip-up scope covers. It feels like it is built to withstand years of rugged use without a whimper, and I would not hesitate to use one of these on my own field target rig.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

G12 Wolverine 004

To ready the Wolverine B for shooting, pop the cover off the foster fitting under the forestock and fill the 500cc reservoir (that’s the displacement of a decent-sized motorcycle engine!) up to bar using a high-pressure hand pump or a SCUBA tank.

The underside of he forestock showing the Wolverine insignia and the cap over the foster fitting.

The underside of he forestock showing the Wolverine insignia and the cap over the foster fitting.

Next, pull the bolt all the way back so that you can slide the rotary magazine out to the left. Loading the magazine is pretty straightforward. On the back side of the magazine (if you see a full width horizontal groove, you’re looking at the front side of the magazine), there is an indentation at the bottom through which a pellet bay is visible. Push a pellet nose-first into the hole and then rotate the pellet holder portion of the magazine one click to the left (about a quarter of an inch). Load another pellet, click the magazine to the left again, and so forth. Pretty soon, you will have ten pellets loaded (they will be visible through small holes on the back of the magazine).

Slide the magazine into the receiver from the left side, slide the bolt handle all the way forward (this pushes a pellet out of the magazine and into the barrel), and you’re good to go. Take careful aim, flick the safety off, and ease the first stage out of the trigger. This requires just 8.3 ounces of effort. At 1 lb. 15.7 oz., the shot goes down range.

The Wolverine B with the shroud/moderator assembly dismounted.

The Wolverine B with the shroud/moderator assembly dismounted.

Now, before we get to what happens next, an enormous digression. You’ll remember that I mentioned the Wolverine B arrived with the shroud/moderator assembly not mounted on the air rifle. Further, I had heard very good things about the Huggett moderator. What better opportunity to find out how effective the Huggett moderator is than to shoot the Wolverine B with just the naked barrel, then mount the shroud/moderator and shoot it again to observe the difference.

The Huggett moderator is extraordinarily effective.

The Huggett moderator is extraordinarily effective.

So I shot the Wolverine B without the shroud/moderator, and all I can say is: DON’T! Without the moderator in place, this is one loud airgun. Even though Harper valve is efficient at metering the air through the action, the report is loud (not as loud as some of the Korean pre-charged pneumatics that I have shot), and it has a sharp crack to it that reminds me of a .22 long rifle shooting high-speed ammunition.

Slide the shroud/moderator over the barrel and screw it into place and shoot again, and you’ll find all that noise simply goes away. What was a loud and neighbor-annoying report becomes a soft “ping.” It is remarkable, and even more remarkable in an air rifle of the Wolverine B’s power. Take a look at the chart below. The .22 Wolverine gets at least 85 shots out of a fill-up and generates over 30 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s more than enough power to take whatever game you might reasonably want to take with a .22 caliber air rifle.

WolvB22

The Wolverine easily produces dime-sized groups at 100 feet, and I’m willing to bet that, with care and optimal conditions, it will produce similar size groups at 50 yards. The state of the art in today’s pre-charged pneumatic air rifles is so high that it is fairly rare to find a PCP rifle that won’t do dime-sized groups at 32-33 yards and well under an inch at 50 yards.

In the end, I liked the .22 Wolverine a whole lot. It is a big, powerful, accurate, and incredibly quiet air rifle that would make any airgunner proud.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

 

 

 

 

m4s0n501
The Daystate Wolverine is an air rifle that does a lot of things well.

The Daystate Wolverine is an air rifle that does a lot of things well.

What technology is doing with the latest generation of airguns is pretty amazing.

Recently, the good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me a .22 caliber Daystate Wolverine B for testing. The gun arrived with the barrel shroud, which incorporates a permanently-bonded Huggett moderator, uninstalled. The user has to slip the shroud/moderator assembly over the naked barrel and screw them together. And what the Huggett moderator does for the Wolverine B is pretty spectacular.

The walnut stock is ambidextrous.

The walnut stock is ambidextrous.

We’ll get to that in a little while, but first let’s take a guided tour of the Wolverine B which stretches nearly 44 inches long and weighs 8.1 lbs. without a scope. At the extreme aft end is a soft rubber butt pad which is attached to an ambidextrous Walnut stock crafted by Minnelli in Italy. The hand-finished thumbhole stock features a cheek piece on either side, a nearly vertical pistol grip with the Wolverine insignia on both sides, and a landing pad for the shooter’s thumb on either side in case you want to shoot with your thumb in opposition to your trigger finger.

The trigger, bolt, and breech.

The trigger, bolt, and breech.

Just forward of the pistol grip, there is a black metal trigger guard that surrounds an adjustable silver metal trigger. Forward of that, the underside of the forestock is adorned with the Wolverine insignia, and forward of that, there is an inlet in the stock that contains a black metal knob. Remove the knob, and you’ll find a male foster fitting for filling the air reservoir. Above the foster fitting on the left side of the stock is an air gauge that tells how much pressure remains in the tank. On either side of the stock, just below the receiver, you’ll find the Daystate name and logo embossed into the wood.

At the front end of the forestock is the air reservoir, a 500cc black metal bottle. Above that is the barrel, which is silver metal, and the matte black shroud and moderator assembly slides over it. At the aft end of the barrel is the matte black receiver. The breech, which holds a ten-shot rotary magazine is located roughly in the middle, and there are dovetails fore and aft of the breech on top of the receiver for mounting a scope. At the aft end of the receiver is the silver metal bolt handle, which can be mounted to the right or left side according to the shooter’s preference. Just under the bolt handle is a sliding-switch type safety.

The Wolverine B is equipped with the Steve Harper designed patented “slingshot” hammer and valve train. It uses inertia to mimic the operation of a solenoid-powered valve hammer and, therefore, eliminates the phenomenon known as “hammer bounce.” Hammer bounce is common in conventional PCPs and involves the valve opening and closing after the main discharge, wasting air long after the pellet has zipped down the bore. The Harper valve delivers extremely efficient use of air, a very high number of shots per charge, a flat power curve, an ultra-fast firing cycle and a relatively quiet (for the power level) muzzle discharge. The slingshot system is also remarkably simple and reliable. As a result, Daystate offers the Wolverine B with a three-year warranty.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how the Wolverine B shoots.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

G12 Brocock Super 6 008

To ready the Elite for shooting, charge the air reservoir to 200 bar. Pull the bolt back all the way and move it down to lock it in the rear position. Slide the rotary magazine out of the breech and examine it. You’ll see that it is a very simple mechanism: a piece of machined steel with an o-ring around the perimeter. You’ll notice that at the center of the magazine there is a small bump on one side and a larger bump on the other side. With the big bump facing you, slide six .22 caliber pellets into the holes provided for them.

An aside: I love the simplicity of this magazine. There are no mechanisms to hold, no plates to rotate, nothing to fool around with; just make sure you are loading the pellets in the proper direction, and it’s easy. I realize that there are two philosophies when it comes to designing repeater air rifles with rotary magazines. One says keep the magazine simple and have the rifle do the job of rotating the magazine. The other says keep the rifle simple and have the magazine, usually with the help of an internal spring, do the job of rotating the pellets into position. Brocock has chosen the first approach, and it certainly makes life easy for the shooter.

Next, lift the bolt handle out of the rear locking position, push the bolt forward and push down to lock it in the forward position. This pushes the bolt forward and slides the pellet out of the magazine and into the barrel. Take aim, ease the first stage out of the trigger (this takes 1 lb. 10.8 oz. of effort) and squeeze the trigger. At 3 lb. 12 oz., the shot goes down range. The Elite launches 16 grain JSB pellets at an average velocity of 857 fps. That works out to 26 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, more than enough to harvest lots of small game.

BrocockConceptElite22

The accuracy is outstanding. The Elite easily delivers dime-sized groups at 32 yards.

The standard muzzle end fitting that Comes with the Brocock Contour Elite.

The standard muzzle end fitting that Comes with the Brocock Concept Elite.

The report, however, is a bit booming as you might expect from a pre-charged pneumatic delivering this kind of power. It is not the kind of report that will keep you in good stead if you have neighbors living nearby.

The modular moderator fitted.

The modular moderator fitted.

There is, though, a happy alternative. The good folks at FX have come up with something called the modular moderator, and you can have it fitted to your Brocock Concept Elite when you order it from www.airgunsofarizona.com Mounting it involves removing the fitting at the muzzle end of the barrel and then permanently bonding to it the base section of the modular moderator. You can then screw on as many baffle sections as you like, followed by an end piece. Any time you need to, you can unscrew the baffle and end sections for maintenance and barrel cleaning.

The modular moderator unscrewed to allow access to the barrel for cleaning.

The modular moderator unscrewed to allow access to the barrel for cleaning.

I tried the Brocock Concept Elite with a very modest modular moderator on it (one base section, one baffle section, and one end piece), and it reduced the sound level very considerably. It wasn’t dead quiet by any means, but certainly much more neighbor-friendly. (I rather expect the good folks at Airguns of Arizona can probably tell you how many baffles sections are needed to render the Elite almost silent.)

Yet another aside: you can also order a Walther LGV with an FX modular moderator. It tried a high-power .177 LGV fitted with a modest (base, baffle and end piece) moderator and found it made the LGV almost dead quiet.

In the end, I liked the Brocock Concept Elite a whole lot. It’s light, short, handsome, accurate, and can be made pleasingly quiet.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

 

The Brocock Contour Elite

The Brocock Concept Elite

The good folks at Brocock seem to have a different philosophy when it comes to designing air rifles, a philosophy that aims at light, nimble guns that would be easy to carry for a full day afield.

And they seem to be spot on target with the new Brocock Concept Elite, a six-shot .22 caliber pre-charged pneumatic air rifle. The Elite (as I will call it) stretches barely 38 inches from end to end, and with an FX scope and mounts aboard, weighes exactly seven-and-a-half pounds. Naked, the Elite tips the scales at just six pounds 12 ounces.

G12 Brocock Super 6 005

At the extreme aft end of the Elite is a soft rubber recoil pad. It is attached to a decided right-handed thumbhole stock with a raised cheek piece on the left side of the buttstock. Moving forward, there is a landing area for your thumb on the right side just under the aft end of the receiver in case you want to shoot with your thumb in opposition to your trigger finger.

G12 Brocock Super 6 004

The pistol grip is nearly vertical, and there is checkering on either side. Ahead of the pistol grip, hardwood forms a guard around the metal trigger blade. Moving forward again, the slim forestock had checkering on either side.

Above the forestock and extending beyond it is the air reservoir which has a port in the bottom for filling with a special filler probe. The air reservoir ends in an air pressure gauge and is surrounded by a barrel band that clamps to the reservoir and the barrel above. At the muzzle end of the barrel is a screw fitting that can be removed. More about this later. There are no iron sights on the Elite; this is an air rifle that is designed to be scoped.

Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the receiver. It has dovetails on top, in front of and behind the breech, for mounting a scope. On the left side of the receiver is a rectangular protuberance, which I presume houses some of the mechanism for advancing the rotary magazine. On the right side of the receiver is the breech which allows the rotary magazine to be slid in from the right side and the bolt, which can be locked into either a forward (closed) or aft (open) position.

The overall fit and finish of the Brocock Concept Elite is, in my opinion, simply outstanding. With the exception of the silver-colored rotary magazine and bolt handle, all the metal parts are finished in semi-gloss or matte black, and the rest (with the exception of the butt pad) is handsome hardwood. This is an air rifle that I think any airgunner would be proud to own and shoot.

There is no safety that I can find on the Elite. Shooters can, of course, keep the gun safe by never, ever, pointing the muzzle at anything that they don’t want to see perforated by a pellet and by keeping their fingers well clear of the trigger except when they are ready to shoot. In addition, a shooter may render the Elite unable to shoot by locking the bolt in the rearward position. With the bolt in that position, it feels to me that there is a magnet that keeps the rotary magazine from falling out of the breech when the bolt probe is pulled all the way back.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how the Brocock Concept Elite shoots.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

The new FX No Limit Mounts. Notice the big Allen screw just above the two main mounting screws.

The new FX No Limit Mounts. Notice the big Allen screw just above the two main mounting screws.

Unless you decide that you are going to shoot exclusively with non-glass sights such as iron sights or peep-and-globe target sights, eventually you are going to have to deal with the issue of scopes, including mounting and adjusting them.

For some basic background information, check this blog on mounting scopes — http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2009/03/mounting-scope.html — and this blog on adjusting them — http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2010/04/how-scopes-really-work-and-what-not-to.html .

At some point, however, whether you encounter a springer that has built-in barrel droop or find yourself with the desire to shoot a pre-charged pneumatic air rifle at really long range, you are likely to run into a problem: lack of sufficient elevation adjustment in your scope.

I have faced that problem several times in my airgunning career, and, to my knowledge, there are only a handful of ways of addressing it. The first is to use a different scope, one that has a greater range of adjustment. This can work fine but is generally the most expensive option.

Another option is to switch to a special “drooper” mount for the scope. Some manufacturers offer special drooper mounts that are designed to work with their airguns that have barrel droop built in. I have used these special mounts successfully but they lack flexibility beyond their built-in droop compensation because they cannot be adjusted.

Alternatively, some airgunners opt to raise the back end of the scope by placing metal or plastic shims between the underside of the scope tube and the top of the rear mount. The danger with shims – especially if you are trying to achieve a large amount of vertical adjustment — is that by raising the scope tube at the rear and providing no compensation at the front mount, you raise the possibility of putting mechanical stress on the scope tube that could bend the tube or damage the scope. I have successfully shimmed scopes in the past, but it is not an optimal solution and doesn’t work well when you need a lot of adjustment.

Another option is to “lap” the scope mount rings to angle the scope downward as it passes through the rings. I have never personally used this method of providing for additional elevation.

Finally, I have in the past seen scope mounts that could be adjusted fore and aft to provide additional elevation adjustment, but most of these (a) looked flimsy to me and (b) required dis-mounting the scope to make adjustments.

But now the good folks from FX airguns have introduced something called “No Limit” mounts. They look like ordinary scope mounts, but there is an extra Allen screw above the foot of the scope mount.

Loosen the big Allen screw and the No Limit Mounts can be raised.

Loosen the big Allen screw and the No Limit Mounts can be raised.

With the scope mounted straight and true, you can loosen those Allen screws and adjust the elevation by lifting the front and rear mounts to different heights.  Because the mounts go up and down while tilting forward or back, the scope can maintain a stress-free and relaxing hold.  This allows you to optically center the scope without having to custom lap or shim the rings, and it also allows the long range shooter to re-position his scope angle for a better range of adjustment at extreme distance.

Best of all, the No Limit Mounts can be tilted to provide stress-free elevation adjust of the scope to compensate for barrel droop or long-range shooting needs.

Best of all, the No Limit Mounts can be tilted to provide stress-free elevation adjust of the scope to compensate for barrel droop or long-range shooting needs.

With springers with droop in their barrels, the No Limit mounts allow you to customize your scope angle to align with barrel angle.  The folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com tell me pcps have different angles too.  They see it when moving one test scope from rifle to rifle.  No Limit mounts allow the shooter to “tune” the scope to the rifle before cranking on the elevation turret.  Even if you don’t have a barrel droop problem or lack of elevation range issue, the No Limit mounts can raise or lower the scope to fine-tune its alignment to your eye.

No Limit mounts do not offer any windage adjustment.  The designers at FX felt that if they allowed left/right movement, it would be difficult to keep the mount stable, so they steered clear of that feature.

In my view, FX has come up with an excellent solution to a problem that is bound to vex every airgunner sooner or later.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

The Fusion with the included scope mounted.

The Fusion with the included scope mounted.

Recently the nice people at UmarexUSA sent me a sample of the new Fusion. It’s a single-shot, bolt-action, CO2-powered, .177 caliber air rifle that will probably sell in the neighborhood of around $200.

As I have said before, airguns that sell for $200 and below can be a decidedly mixed bag. Many, while having appealing features, also have some flaw that diminishes the joy of shooting them. The Fusion, in my experience, does a number of things pretty decently and doesn’t appear to have any terrible flaws in my view. As a result, I like the Fusion a whole lot and really enjoyed shooting it.

The Fusion stretches just shy of 40 inches from end to end and weighs 6 lbs. 1 oz. with the included scope mounted and a couple of 12-gram CO2 cartridges inserted. The entire color scheme of the rifle, with the exception of the silver lettering on either side of the receiver, can be summed up in one word: black.

The butt stock and pad.

The butt stock and pad.

At the extreme aft end is a soft rubber butt pad that is attached to a matte finish black polymer stock. The stock is symmetrical from side to side, which is good news for left-handed shooters, but the bolt protrudes from the right side and there is no provision for switching it to the opposite side. The butt stock on either side has grooves for a kind of faux cheek piece, but it is not moveable or adjustable. The pistol grip comes down at a shallow angle typical of sporting-type rifle and it has a couple of finger indentations on the forward edge.

The safety, visible just above the trigger, looks for all the world like an electrical switch.

The safety, visible just above the trigger, looks for all the world like an electrical switch.

Forward of that is a black plastic trigger guard which encloses a folded metal trigger. Forward of that is the forestock, at the end of which is a black relief valve assembly for the air tube into which the CO2 cartridges are loaded. Above that is the black metal barrel. At the muzzle end of the barrel is a polymer assembly that the package calls the “SilencAir” airgun silencing system. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find a polymer barrel band, followed by the metal receiver which includes the breech, the bolt, and the bolt handle. On the right-hand side of the receiver, just above the trigger guard, is the slide-type safety, which looks for all the world like an electrical switch.

The Fusion also comes with a 4x scope and rings that must be mounted onto the Fusion by the buyer. While this is a relatively inexpensive, non-AO scope, it is adequate to the task. I found that I could see through it clearly and shoot decent groups with it.

The relief valve assembly, just below the barrel at the end of the forestock, must be removed to insert two 12-gram CO2 cartridges.

The relief valve assembly, just below the barrel at the end of the forestock, must be removed to insert two 12-gram CO2 cartridges.

To ready the Fusion for shooting, you must remove the relief valve assembly and insert two CO2 cartridges. The first one goes in small end first; the second goes in big end first. Umarex recommends putting a drop of RWS Chamber Lube on the small end of each CO2 cartridge and on the o-ring of the relief valve assembly. In section 3 of the Fusion Operation Manual, there are detailed instructions for charging the Fusion and adjusting the relief valve assembly. Anyone who owns the Fusion will do well to read them and heed them.

After loading the CO2 cartridges, pull the bolt back to cock the action and open the breech for loading. This also activates the automatic safety. Load a .177 pellet into the breech, return the bolt to its original position, and move the safety to the FIRE position by sliding the switch toward you. Squeeze the trigger. The first stage comes out at 9.1 oz. After a long pull, the shot goes down range at 4 lbs. 1.3 oz.

The package claims that the Fusion will make 700 fps with lead pellets and 750 fps with alloy pellets. I chronographed the Fusion on a day that was only 58 degrees F. outside, and the gun had been stored in a 55 F. basement. The Fusion launched 7.9 grain Crosman Premier pellets at 612 fps for 6.5 foot-pounds of energy. What’s more, the Fusion was extremely consistent: the high velocity was 613 fps and the low velocity was 612 fps. Since CO2-powered airgun powerplants are sensitive to temperature, I would expect that the Fusion would provide more speed and power on, say, an 80-degree day.

The SilencAir device, at the end of the barrel, reduces the report considerably but does not render the Fusion dead quiet.

The SilencAir device, at the end of the barrel, reduces the report considerably but does not render the Fusion dead quiet.

The package also says the Fusion is “incredibly quiet.” I found this to be a bit of an overstatement. It is certainly a neighbor-friendly report – a muted pop – but it is not dead quiet. I think it is the kind of air rifle you could shoot in a suburban backyard without raising the ire of the neighbors, but it is not perfectly stealthy. It is certainly quieter than other CO2 air rifles I have shot that were not equipped with the SilencAir technology.

I found that I could easily shoot nickel-sized groups at 13 yards with the scope provided with the Fusion, and that it had sufficient power to blow through both sides of a tomato can at 20 yards.

In the end, I can happily recommend the Fusion. It has sufficient power for light pest control duty in the garden, enough accuracy to make backyard plinking fun, and ease of shooting that should please most members of the family.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

silhout2

Proponents of air rifle silhouette will tell you enthusiastically that air rifle silhouette is the most fun as you can have standing up. In involves shooting at four types of metallic animal shapes: chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams. The targets are the same size as the silhouettes used in air pistol silhouette, but you shoot at them at longer distances: chickens, 20 yards; pigs, 30 yards; turkeys, 36 yards, and rams, 45 yards. Generally, you shoot at 10 of each target, and when you hit them, they fall down (in the case of resettable targets) or go flying.

What makes air rifle silhouette even more challenging is that all shooting is done from the standing (offhand position), and unlike 10 meter air rifle competition, the use of special shooting jackets, pants, shoes, and so forth is forbidden. Competitors must shoot in ordinary street clothing. The irregular shape of the targets adds to the challenge and the fun.

If you want to get involved in air rifle silhouette, you will need an air rifle capable of shooting, at a minimum, dime-sized groups from a rest at 20 yards. Since during competition  you will not be shooting from a rest but will be shooting from a standing position, you – like all humans – will wobble. Given that all of the silhouette targets have narrow elements (the legs for example), you want an accurate rifle that will hit what it is pointing at, should you inadvertently wobble your aim over a small portion of the target. Naturally, whatever air rifle you use, you will want to shoot groups with a variety of pellets to discover which pellet is the most accurate in your rifle. You’ll want to check to make sure that the pellets you select group well at 20 yards and at the longest distance, 45 yards.

You’ll also want a scope. Although selecting scope magnification can be tricky – low magnification diminishes your apparent wobble but makes it harder to view the targets, and high magnification increases wobble while making the silhouettes appear larger – but folks in the know tell me that a 6-12x or 6-18x scope is a good place to start. You’ll want a scope with an adjustable objective to reduce parallax error, and, if you are shooting a springer, you’ll need a scope that is springer rated. In addition, because the trajectory of your air rifle can vary from 20 to 45 yards, you will want some means to compensate for the differing trajectory. Some shooters use target knobs to change the elevation of the crosshairs and others use mil-dot scopes, selecting the appropriate dot for different ranges.

Many air rifle venues offer different classes of competition. Target class is for any unaltered 10 meter target air rifle. Since many 10 meter target air rifles launch pellets at around 600fps, compensating for the wind, particularly at the longer distance, can be pretty “entertaining.”  Sporter class is where you will find spring-piston, gas-ram, and CO2 powered air rifles. All air rifles and scopes must meet an 11 pound weight limit. Open class is where you’ll find precharged pneumatic air rifles that do not fall into the target class. There are other specifications for each class so always check the current NRA silhouette rules to make sure your air rifle will be legal to use. You can find the rules on the NRA web site here: http://compete.nra.org/documents/pdf/compete/RuleBooks/Sil-r/sil-r-book.pdf

For practice, I can recommend this target: https://www.airgunsofarizona.com/Beeman%20Targets.html

The last thing you’ll need is a place to compete. You can find out about air rifle silhouette matches by contacting the National Rifle Association. This website — http://www.nra.org/nralocal.aspx — will help you find local NRA-affiliated clubs in your area. Unfortunately, you will have to contact them individually to see which ones offer air rifle silhouette competition.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott

A 10 meter air rifle competitor. Photo courtesy of www.usashooting.org

A 10 meter air rifle competitor.
Photo courtesy of www.usashooting.org

Want to give yourself a serious challenge as an air gunner? I mean a serious, serious challenge? Then let me humbly suggest that you give 10 meter air rifle a try. It is both an international shooting competition and an Olympic event, and in my view, it is one of the hardest things you can attempt with an air rifle.

The competitors shoot at a distance of ten meters – just a bit over 32 feet – at a target the ten ring of which measures just .5 millimeter across. From a standing position, the competitors shoot with .177 caliber air rifles that weigh a maximum of 12.13 pounds. For men the course of fire is 60 shots (plus a ten shot final in international competition) and for women, 40 shots plus a final.

I’ve tried it, and it is tough. It is physically demanding to hold up a target rifle 60 times and try to point it with precision at a target. People – all people – wobble, and that wobble creates inaccuracy. As a result, competitors are allowed to wear specialized clothing, including shooting jacket, pants, special shoes, and even special undergarments to help stabilize the body and reduce the wobble as well as help to prevent back injury caused by the asymmetric spine position that competitors assume while shooting. Years ago, I spoke with a collegiate 10 meter air rifle competitor, and she estimated that the use of the specialized shooting clothing improved her score by as much as 50 points. In other words, if she were to shoot in ordinary street clothing (as the 10 meter air pistol shooters do), she might expect her score to drop by as much as 50 points. (An aside: you probably could have encased me in a concrete block, and I still would not have come near her score!)

The competition air rifles that are used in 10 meter air rifle competition are arguably among the most accurate projectile launchers. I know a man who shot groups from a rest with his FWB300s recoilless air rifle, and he showed me a 10-shot group that was a single hole that was barely egg-shaped! Today’s precharged pneumatic match rifles are even more accurate. It is not uncommon for today’s competitors to test their rifles by clamping them into a vice and shooting shot after shot at ten meters, testing difficult pellets and batches of pellets from the same manufacturer until they find the one that produces the smallest possible group size.

The reason for all the fuss about accuracy is that, unlike 10 meter air pistol in which a perfect score has never been shot, in 10 meter air rifle perfect scores have been shot, and competitors need to be as accurate as they possibly can. Top-end 10 meter match rifles are the Formula One cars of the air rifle world. As they go up in price you get more and more adjustability of the stock, handgrip, and so forth, as well as various anti-recoil technologies, incredible accuracy and amazing consistency in velocity from shot to shot. . The Feinwerkbau target air rifles offered by www.airgunsofarizona.com can be found here .

If you would like to dip your toe in the water of 10 meter shooting at a much more modest cost, the Daisy Avanti line of target rifles offer excellent accuracy for beginners but not the high level of adjustability or the incredible triggers available in the FWB line.

If you want to know more about how to get started in 10 meter air rifle competition, visit http://www.usashooting.org/ . Click on the Resources tab for useful information, and under the Events tab, you will find lots of helpful stuff, including how to locate a club near you and how to find a match that offers 10-meter air rifle competition

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

-          Jock Elliott