Posts Tagged ‘testing’

When you do a career 180 and begin to spend your work week reviewing airguns, there’s a certain phenomena and awareness that quickly turns to clarity… when seeking the one, you’ve got to try all brands and offshoots of a manufacturer’s pellet and you’ve got to cull with 10 shot groups. Yesterday for example, I spent the day getting familiar with the new Benjamin Maximus Euro, the 12fpe variant that our brethren in the U.K. have access to (and us as well). As always before shooting video, I’ll spend 2-3 days familiarizing myself with the gun’s tendencies & preferences in order to streamline my time come video day. What did I learn this week? … the branding phenomena is reality and my above discovery is true.

Take the below for example:

These are 5 shot groups at 25 yards experimenting with 6 different brands of pellet. I came away from the session thinking the Maximus Euro was a shooter across 4 of the 6 pellet types and in my mind, I’m starting down the path of, “This rifle isn’t pellet fussy at all… but I need to run some more brands through it to confirm.”

But is it?…

I spat all of the above through the Euro and confirmed that I could scratch them off the list. 1-2” groups at 25 certainly wouldn’t work for YouTube land… I’d be leaving this rifle’s reputation permanently scared and forever lost in the airgun graveyard. Having used up the day working through several rounds of culling and cleaning, I finally came away with 9, most of which I felt shot well enough to be consistently dangerous.

Check it out:

Now if you take a moment and study the above, you’re probably feeling fairly confident in a few of these groups, right? Don’t feel bad if you do, I did… that was until this morning when I funneled the assortment one final time and discovered the below takeaways:

Lesson 1: This rifle (and maybe yours) can keep to dime-sized groups 5 maybe 6 times across a good variety of pellets, but when you change the rules of the game, the picture begins to tell a different story. If you truly want to know what pellets your gun will be most consistent with, begin experimenting repeatedly with 10 shot groups and with lots of barrel cleaning in between batches. It’s clear to me now that Maximus Euro .177 is a dagger with the 8.4 gr Air Arms Diabolo Fields… 9/10 landed within .35” of one another. It also performed pretty well with the Diana Magnum and JSB 10.34… all three of which will accompany me on video day tomorrow.

This brings me to lesson 2: Have a another look at the above. The 8.4 gr Diana Exact is supposedly the same pellet as the 8.4 gr Air Arms Diabolo Field. JSB manufactures both and the forums will tell you they’re the same thing just re-branded… but I beg to differ. To me, it’s clear that this rifle performs better with one than the other. If that’s not enough to convince ya, have a look at the Diana Magnum and H&N Baracuda. This is the same scenario… H&N manufactures both brands and to the eye, they look the same… however, they clearly don’t perform the same out of this rifle. In yours, the reverse may be true.

What this means to us airheads is that before you give up on your rifle and call it a lemon, try all the brands and offshoots of a pellet manufacturer. JSB and H&N make most of them, and while seemingly disguised as the same thing, they are not. You’ve got to try them all. Then, once you think you’ve got things narrowed down, make your final decisions with 10 shot groups.

You’ll have a better time shooting & your prey will appreciate it.

YouTuber & Columnist
Steve Scialli

For years, I have heard things like “spring-pistons don’t like heavy pellets” and “CO2, pre-charged pneumatics and pump guns are more efficient with heavy pellets.” I guess I just accepted these truths as an article of faith and never really thought much more about them.

But recently I have been testing several .25 caliber – quarterbore – air rifles, and the tale that the chronograph tells is interesting. Put simply, when it comes to power generation – that is, foot-pounds measured at the muzzle – springers tend to like light pellets and pneumatics prefer heavier pellets. Of course, it isn’t always a straight linear function, because there are other variables, such as how tightly the pellet fits in the bore.

It all started when I was chronographing a trio of break barrel .25 cal. springers. I was using Gamo Pro Magnum 21.91 gr. pellets to chronograph them, because I had a plentiful supply of those pellets. One of the rifles was slinging the Gamo pellets at 565 fps average, which works out to 15.53 foot-pounds average. I mentioned this to the importer, and he suggested trying JSB Kings (25.4 gr.). Somewhat counter to the “law” about springers, the heavier pellet did better in terms of power but slightly worse in velocity: the JSB Kings averaged 555 fps for 17.37 foot-pounds at the muzzle. But the real surprise came with the lightest pellet. 19 gr. Milbro Rhino pellets rocketed through the traps at 667 fps for a sparkling 18.7 foot-pounds. In this case, the law about springers proved right: the lightest pellet did generate the most power in this .25 cal. spring-piston powerplant.

Okay, I thought, but what about the pneumatic airguns, do they obey the “rules” or not? It was raining when I thought about answering this question, and I usually need to do my chronographing outdoors, so I turned to the respected varminter Cliff Tharpe. Cliff, whose online handle is VarmintAir, is producer of the Airgun Hunting the California Ground Squirrel DVD. He has deep experience in hunting and clobbering vermin with air rifles.

Cliff has a factory stock .25 Benjamin Marauder that he routinely uses to pop prairie dogs at 50-100 yards. He sent me some data on his experience chronographing different weight pellets through the Marauder, with the following note: “These were all shot at the factory settings, whatever those may be.  All velocities were taken with the start screen 12 inches from the muzzle.  I use a CED M2 Chronograph set up indoors, with the infrared screens.  Two mags, for sixteen shots with each pellet.  All pellets were weight sorted.  This is with a 3000 psi fill. “

And here’s the data:

  • JSB .25 Quarter Bore, 25.4 grain – avg. vel. – 881 fps – fpe 43.8
  • Benjamin .25 dome head, 27.8 grain – avg. vel. – 845 fps – fpe 44
  • Beeman Kodiak .25, 30.8 grain – avg. vel. – 821 fps – fpe 46.1

Here we have a straight linear relationship – the heavier the pellet, the lower the velocity, and the greater the power that is generated.

Now, having said all that, what’s the most important thing?

Accuracy, of course. A firearms expert once said, “A hit with a .22 beats a clean miss with a .45.” And he was right. If you can’t reliably hit what you’re aiming at, it doesn’t matter how much power you are generating. The first thing you need is sufficient accuracy to hit your intended target at the range at which you plan to shoot. If you are planning to hunt, once you have the accuracy, then you need sufficient power to humanely take whatever game you are after.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott