Posts Tagged ‘BSA’

If there is one thing that irritates the dickens out of me, it’s the emphasis on velocity seen so often in mass-market airgun advertising: 1,000 feet per second . . . 1,200 fps . . . 1,500 fps . . . even 1,600 fps. And you can tell it’s getting through to people who don’t know any better.

A couple of years ago, the good folks at Airguns of Arizona very graciously invited me to come out and attend the NRA show being held that year in Phoenix. It was a great time, and I spent a number of hours at the AoA booth. Invariably, someone would come up, eyeball the gorgeous guns in the display, and ask (pointing at a particular gun), “How fast does it shoot?”

After a while I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I began to politely explain how that velocity is really not the primary concern when it comes to air rifles and air pistols, how speeds above 1,000 fps are generally a Bad Idea with airgun pellets because of turbulence in the trans-sonic region, and how air rifles, unlike their powder-burning cousins, can’t drive pellets fast enough to stay supersonic all the way to long-range targets, causing accuracy woes as the pellet drops back into the trans-sonic region. I’m sure you know all that already, but I can tell you it was an eye-opener for some of the folks attending the NRA show.

The plain truth is that I like shooting wimpy-powered air rifles. It all started in my brother-in-laws backyard. He was shooting a humble Beeman R7/HW30, and I was shooting a Venom-tuned HW97. We were trying to hit a small kill zone on a field target 20 yards away, and he was dropping the target more often than I was. This annoyed me, since I had just spent a lot of money on the aforementioned HW97. We switched guns, and I promptly beat him. The truth was evident: his 6 fp breakbarrel air rifle was easier to shoot well than my much higher powered model.

So we decided to do an experiment. At the next field target match, we would each bring a 6 fp gun, on the theory that knowing our guns were easy to shoot well would help us to achieve high scores even though we were giving up power, velocity and flatness of trajectory. It worked. At the end of the day we each shot a personal best.

Lest you think that performance was some sort of freak occurrence, let me share a couple of other tidbits. The first time that I ever won a field target match was with a scoped PCP match rifle shooting just 570 fps. At another match, I saw Ray Apelles shoot a match high score with an FWB 300 match rifle, which was launching pellets at around 600 fps. And on many other occasions, I’ve seen competitors shoot decent scores and have a great time shooting low-powered tack drivers.

This is my lightly customized Beeman R7/HW30.

If you would like to experiment with turning to “the wimpy side of the force,” the king of the low-power tackdrivers is the HW30. It’s just 38.75” long, weights 5.5lbs, and features a very nice adjustable trigger. It launches Crosman Premier 7.9 grain pellets and delivers them at around 620 fps, producing tiny cloverleaf groups at 10 meters. You can check out my full review here: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2010/09/hw30s-de-luxe.html

Two other low-power break barrel air rifles that I have tested in the past are the BSA Meteor and the RWS Model 24.

A BSA Meteor. This is not the most current model.

More than 2,000,000 BSA Meteors have been sold worldwide, making it one of the most popular air rifles of all time. It is just 42 inches long and weighs 5.75 lbs. I tested a used early model that put Daisy Match pellets downrange at 610 fps. The trigger was hard to pull and was not adjustable, but I’m told that the new Mark VI models have an adjustable trigger.

The RWS Model 24.

The RWS Model 24, now available used, is a real sleeper. At 42” inches long and 6 lbs, it is a very plain looking gun, but it sure does shoot. JSB Exact 8.4 grain pellets went through the traps at 578 fps and drilled one-hole groups at 10 meters. The trigger had a bit of creep, but is very predictable, making accurate shooting easy. I understand the Model 24 has been replaced by the 240, and I hope to have a look at one of those in the future.

I have campaigned this FWB150 in field target competition and had a lot of fun doing it.

 Another possibility for the shooter who wants a low-power tackdriver is the FWB 150/300. Available only used, these are recoilless spring-piston match rifles that are easily scoped and a joy to shoot.

 Finally, for the shooter who wants a hyper-accurate low-power air rifle, many of the modern FWB PCP match rifles can be scoped, and, at ten meters, you’ll find nothing on the planet that is more accurate. https://www.airgunsofarizona.com/FWB.htm

 

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

A couple of years ago, I had a BSA SuperTEN with a bull barrel. It was a really neat air rifle and accurate as the dickens, but there were a couple of things about it that really drove me to distraction: you had to remove the “bottle” (the air reservoir) to recharge the gun, and there was no way to tell how much air pressure was left in the reservoir.

The new BSA R10, available in .177 and .22, is an evolutionary step forward in the SuperTEN concept. The R10 is a so-called “bottle” gun because it has a removable 200cc air bottle at the end of the forestock. It is a multi-shot repeater with a fully shrouded barrel and an excellent trigger.

The R10 is 43 inches long and weighs 7.3 lbs before a scope is mounted. Length of pull from the trigger to the end of the butt pad about 13.75 inches. At the extreme aft end of the R10 is a soft rubber butt pad that is adjustable vertically. Just loosen a screw and slide it up or down as needed. On either side of the stock, near the butt pad, the stock is laser engraved with the BSA logo. On the underside of the butt stock, about two inches from the butt pad, the stock has a fitting for attaching a sling. Forward of that the walnut stock is distinctly right-handed with a pronounced cheek piece and comb on the left hand side of the stock.

The pistol grip has sharply cut checkering on both sides and a nice dark wood cap with a lighter colored spacer. Just above the pistol grip is an indentation is an indentation that the shooter can use as a thumb rest. Forward of the pistol grip is a black metal trigger guard which houses the two-stage adjustable match trigger. The forestock has checkering on both sides and underneath.

Ahead of the trigger guard is a screw that secures the action in the stock. Forward of that is a white-on-black pressure gauge, next to which is a quick-fill port. Beyond that you’ll find another attachment for a sling, followed by dark wood at the end of the forestock with a lighter colored spacer. Beyond that is the air reservoir.

Above the air reservoir is the fully shrouded bull barrel with a ported thread protector at the end. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find a magazine retaining catch on the left side at the front end of the receiver. The full length of the top of the receiver has a 10.8 mm dovetailed scope rail. About halfway back along the length of the receiver on the left side there is a slot for inserting the 10-shot magazine.

At the rear of the receiver on the left side is a lever-type safety. Push it forward to ready the gun for firing, and pull it back to “safe” the action. At the extreme aft end of the receiver is a large chrome bolt. In all, I find the R10 a handsome air rifle, but I think the finish on the receiver is not quite as nice as I remember on the SuperTEN.

To ready the R10 for shooting, you first have to charge the reservoir, which can be done in two ways. (1) Remove the bottle, and using an optional filling adaptor, charge it to 232 bar with a SCUBA tank or high pressure pump. (2) Insert the filling adaptor supplied with every R10 into the quick-fill port and charge it using a SCUBA tank or high pressure pump. The quick-fill port has a restrictor screw that should be screwed down tightly if you are using a SCUBA tank. BY ALL MEANS, READ THE MANUAL!

There are detailed instructions in the manual for loading the magazine, and it is a pretty straightforward process. Once you have accomplished this, slide the magazine into place and push the bolt forward to slide the first pellet into the barrel.  Take aim at a target, flip the safety off, and squeeze the trigger. At 10.3 oz, the first stage comes out of the trigger. At 1 lb, 14.2 oz, the shot goes off. The trigger is extremely crisp and clean with no creep, very much like the trigger you would find on a 10-meter match rifle.

The .22 caliber R10 sample launched 18.2 grain JSB Exact Heavy pellets at 832 fps (27.98 foot-pounds), and when the shot goes off, you quickly discover where BSA has dropped the ball in the design of the R10: the fully shrouded bull barrel offers no acoustical advantage. There are no baffles in the bull barrel, and, as a result, this gun is loud.

On the other hand, the accuracy was outstanding. At 35 yards shooting from a casual rest, I was able to put 5 shots into a ragged one-hole group that you could easily cover with a dime.

In the end, I can happily recommend the BSA R10 on all fronts – it operates smoothly and efficiently, is commendably accurate, and has a superb trigger. The only exception to that is if your shooting requirements demand a neighbor-friendly report.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

To shoot the Lone Star, make sure you have cocked the action by pressing in the cocking knob (see Part I), take aim, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. The slack comes out of the first stage at about 10 ounces, and at one pound, ten ounces, the shot goes off. The trigger is adjustable for trigger weight and sear engagement after you have removed the action from the stock. But given how light and crisp the trigger is as set by the factory, I don’t see the need to fiddle around with it.

Now, I have a confession to make: prior to the Lone Star, I had never shot a .25 cal. airgun. My impression is that it is extremely easy to shoot well. The Lone Star is equipped with one of BSA’s match barrels, and the pellets simply go where the gun is pointed. Shooting tight groups is easy.

I’m also impressed that you can feel the recoil when the Lone Star goes off and the muzzle lifts a bit. The Lone Star will launch 30.9 grain Kodiak pellets at an average of 751 fps, delivering 30 shots from a fill with an extreme spread of 25 fps. But since there is no pressure gauge, you better keep track of your shot count.

The other thing that impresses me about the Lone Star is that it is LOUD. Not as raucous as a .22 cal. Sumatra, but this is certainly not the airgun you want to be popping off in a suburban neighborhood. You will, no doubt, attract unwanted attention.

The rear sight on the Lone Star is somewhat unusual, to my thinking. The elevation adjustment has the customary click-stops, but the windage adjustment has click-stops that are very subtle. The first time I adjusted the sight, I thought there were no click-stops; the second time, I could “sorta” feels the clicks. I tried the iron sights for a while, decided my eyes were no longer up to precision shooting with classic iron sights, and mounted a scope.

The scope I chose was a Hawke Airmax 3-9 x 40 AO. This scope has the Map 6 reticle, which has extra aiming points for compensating for the trajectory of an air rifle. Using free downloadable software, you can set up the Hawke scope so you know exactly where your aiming points are when you go out in the field. The Ballistic Reticle Software even has presets for various air and powder-burning calibers. I used Hawke rings to mount the scope. I like them because the anti-recoil pin can be easily screwed in or out, depending upon whether you need it or not.

I liked shooting the Lone Star with the Hawke scope. If I were choosing a hunting air rifle, it would be high on my list of candidates.

I felt the Lone Star and the Hawke scope were an attractive and potent combination, offering the ability to deliver a hard-hitting .25 pellet exactly where you want it, and it will certainly hold an inch at 50 yards. For some accuracy results at 50 yards, check out this video. If you want a hunting rifle that will dispatch your quarry with authority, the BSA Lone Star may be just what you are looking for.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

The BSA Lone Star is one of the few PCP sporting rifles that is available with iron sights.

In the literature that comes with the BSA .25 cal Lone Star is a note that says, with typical British understatement: “Professional Hunting Rifle.”

And it truly is a professional hunting rifle, a big, hairy, powerful hunting rifle. Stretching 41.5 inches from end to end and weighing 7.8 lbs, the .25 Lone Star is capable of generating 35 to 40 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle and delivering a lot of that energy downrange while maintaining commendable accuracy.

It’s one of the few sporting precharged air rifles that is available these days with iron sights. I can picture an English gamekeeper carrying one of these as he goes about his normal duties. When he encounters a pest animal, pah-BOOM!, and it’s lights out.

At the rear of the Lone Star is a soft rubber butt pad emblazoned with the BSA “3-rifle” symbol. Moving forward, the right hand hardwood stock has a high comb and pronounced cheek piece. Moving forward again, the pistol grip is checkered on either side, and the end piece is stamped with the BSA logo. At the top of the pistol grip, just under the end of the receiver, there is a concave indentation for resting your thumb while shooting. The black metal trigger guard has the initials “BSA” on the bottom surface, and it houses and adjustable two-stage trigger.

Ahead of the trigger guard, the forestock is checkered on either side. At the end of the forestock there is a knob that we’ll get back to in just a bit. Above the knob is the air reservoir with a threaded end cap. Above the air reservoir is the barrel with a blade front sight mounted near the muzzle. The muzzle brake has a screw-off ring that allows a silencer to be fitted where legal. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the receiver which has scope grooves fore and aft of the breech. On the forward part of the breech, the rear sight is mounted. On the right side of the breech, toward the rear, are a push button for releasing the bolt and, below that, a lever type safety (forward for fire, back for safe).

That’s it. To get the Lone Star ready for shooting, unscrew the end cap on the air reservoir, fit the filler probe to your SCUBA tank or pump, and charge the Lone Star up to a maximum of 232 bar. Make sure that your SCUBA yoke or high pressure pump has a pressure gauge, because there is no gauge on the Lone Star to tell you “when’s enough.”

To load the Lone Star, press down the “probe release catch” on the right side of the receiver; the bolt will spring backward, opening the breech. Place a pellet in the breech and push the bolt forward until it clicks. The Lone Star is now loaded.

You can walk around with the Lone Star, click off the safety, and squeeze the trigger, and nothing will happen. Why? Because you haven’t cocked the action. To do that, grab the cocking knob at the end of the forestock and press it back toward the pistol grip until it clicks. Anytime you want, you can de-cock the Lone Star by pushing in the cocking knob, pulling the trigger, and slowly releasing the cocking knob.

Next time, we’ll shoot the Lone Star.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

Before we get to today’s blog, a couple of quick notes. First, Airguns of Arizona now has JSB Monsters in stock. These .22 cal. pellets weigh 25.4 grains and come in 200-count tins. Second, AoA has a new deal on JSB pellets. Order just 4 tins at the same time and get $1 off on each tin.

The BSA SuperTEN is a handsome and accurate air rifle.

The BSA SuperTEN is an interesting and accurate air rifle. Available in .177 and .22, the SuperTEN is available in three levels of “trim.” The base model has no silencer, the next level up has a full factory non-removable silencer, and the top model has a full bull barrel. All models have a ten-shot rotary magazine, fully adjustable match trigger, and a specially crowned match barrel.

This is why the SuperTEN is called a bottle gun.

The SuperTEN is a so-called “bottle” airgun. That’s because the air reservoir, mounted at the end of the forestock, is in fact a steel bottle for holding the compressed air. To charge the bottle, it must be unscrewed from the air rifle, attached to a SCUBA tank or pump, and charged up to 230 bar (3336 PSI).

One of the things that makes the SuperTEN attractive is that it is a regulated airgun. That means there is a mechanism in the action that, like the diver’s regulator on a SCUBA tank, controls how much air the SuperTEN can sip for each shot. As a result, the SuperTEN is extremely consistent in its velocity from shot to shot until the air pressure in the air reservoir drops so low that it must be refilled.

The SuperTEN is available at two different power levels. The British version keeps the power just below 12 foot pounds (fp) in both .177 and .22 and delivers a large number of shots per fill. The export version produces 22 fp in .177 and 30 fp in .22 and delivers 40 shots per fill. The regulator controls the power, and there are two different regulators: one for Britain and one for export. One of the neat features of the SuperTEN is that, if you own both regulators, called the “cigar” regulator, you can swap between them in just a few minutes. This gives you the flexibility to choose between lower power and lots of shots and higher power and fewer shots.

Starting at the back of the SuperTEN, you find a black rubber buttplate that is adjustable vertically. Just loosen a screw in the middle, slide the buttplate up or down as needed, and retighten the screw. Ahead of that, a thick black plastic spacer attaches to the stock which has a pronounced cheekpiece on the left side. Moving forward, the pistol grip is checkered and has a dark hardwood cap. The top of the pistol grip, just under the receiver, there is a concave spot for resting your thumb while shooting.

Forward of the pistol grip is the black metal trigger guard, inside of which is a very crisp and highly adjustable two-stage trigger. Moving ahead again, you’ll find the forestock, which has checkered grip panels on either side. At the end of the forestock is the air reservoir, which must be unscrewed from the SuperTEN for charging.

Above the air reservoir is the barrel, which is attached to a black metal receiver. On the left side of the receiver is a slot into which the 10-shot rotary magazine is inserted. The magazine also protrudes slightly out of the right side of the receiver. There you’ll also find a slide-action safety (forward to fire, back to safe the action) and the bolt, which rides in a track with two slots. On top of the receiver is a full-length 10.8mm dovetailed scope rail.

When you cycle the SuperTEN, make sure you pull the bolt all the way back and down into the rear slot.

When I shot the .22 cal. base model SuperTEN, I found that it averaged 940 fps with JSB .22 jumbo express pellets and produced a .81 ctc group at 50 yards. Further, the trigger was a pleasure. When you shoot the SuperTEN, be aware of one trick: you have to make sure that you pull the bolt all the way back and down into the rear slot before cycling the bolt forward again. If you don’t, the SuperTEN will not cock and will not shoot. When you work the bolt again, you run the risk of loading two pellets into the barrel.

The SuperTEN enjoys a reputation as one of the most accurate airguns available, but it is being phased out, to be replaced by the BSA R10 which has the features – a quick fill fitting and a pressure gauge – that airgunners are requesting today.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott