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Let's Talk About Air Guns
7 May 2018, 19:14,
Let's Talk About Air Guns
In spite of what some might say is an abrasive nature, one earned the hard way through dealing with morons for a lifetime, I do try to be a good neighbor.

I pressure wash the siding and mow the grass to make the place presentable and I try not to do things that just p!$$ people off.

I do enjoy shooting in the back garden and have been doing so for the pastj
8 years, mostly .22 firearms and the occasional center-fire pistol round. I have a steep hill up from the creek bank on the back side of the place and when in the shooting spot there is no way I can strike a house, livestock or people no matter how badly they need to be shot!

However, things have changed in the past year. My new neighbors, bless their hearts, have had a new baby over the winter. New neighbor husband has also taken a 3rd shift job which puts him to sleeping during the day. Being a good neighbor has curtailed much of my backyard shooting!

But it is spring, and I do not want to be troubled with running to the local rifle range every time I want to catch some trigger time. So a week or so back I pulled the air gun off the rack to see what it would do.

I decided to run the new pellets I had just bought from the local Walmart across the chronograph to see what they were actually doing instead of just guessing. Out comes the folding table, chair, chrono, bullet trap and a big blue glass of iced tea with fruit in it (sorry I had to do that just to irritate you tea connoisseurs) and I settled down for some testing.

My rifle is a Beeman RS2, built in China, and it seems a beast. It is positively HUGE and stands nearly as tall as my Mosin Nagant rifle. I reach up to cock the break barrel mechanism and pull down the barrel for what seems forever and I make a sudden realization.

This really sucks!

I am nearly 70 years old and this thing takes 40-50 pounds cocking effort. After about 10 shots over the chronograph I was ready to pack it up and go inside to find some liniment and Tylenol.

The reason for this was evident from the numbers on the chronograph. We are not limited to the 12 ft/lb limit over here, and that Beeman .22 was sending 14.3 grain pellets across the machine at an average of 820fps.

This rifle has barrels in both .22 and .177 and the 8 grain lead .177 pellets, not the light alloy, were crossing at a steady 970 fps. The .22 pellets are giving me a solid 21 ft/lb and the .177 are producing nearly 17 ft/lb.

That spring is rough to cock. So I decided to get onto one of my hunting forums and ask as friend that hunts with airguns what to do about my ailing arms.

He gave me grave warnings and mentioned the letters PCP which meant nothing to me at the time since I have not been part of the air gun world for some years.

I have nothing against air guns, and my history with them goes way back to times before the modern air gun era. I got my first air gun at the age of 9, after much begging, promising to be good, assurances of safety and a promise to never keep it in the house.

Not every American is a maniac shooter, contrary to popular belief, and my totally insane pacifist father would not allow a firearm of any kind, even an air gun, in the house. The air gun had to live at my grandparents place, stored in the closet with grand-pop's "real guns".

So from the age of about 10 I spent most of my weekends and holidays at the grandparents' place. Looking back I can see that it was a real neat way of disposing of me for a few days at a time, always with the firm warning "don't shoot your eye out!".

That first air gun was a Daisy. A standard lever cocker that sent a 4 grain steel BB out the muzzle at a blazing 275 fps. That was about the normal for a starter BB gun back in the day. I shot that Daisy for 2 years and discovered the model 25 Daisy, which had MORE POWER! It shot at 350 fps, which seemed like a big increase at the time but I had no idea what the true numbers were. There was nothing published about it back then and no one, absolutely no one, owned a chronograph except for the ammunition manufacturers.

I wore two of those M25 Daisy rifles out in the next couple of years until I read in a hunting magazine about multi-pump air guns and went searching for them locally. Good luck with that effort in the southern U.S. in 1962!

I finally found a Crosman 140 in .22 caliber in the local hardware store and due to my especially good behavior and safety record I managed to convince the anti-gun parents that it was not a real firearm, just a big BB gun, and snagged that bad boy for Christmas just before I turned 13.

Again, I had no real knowledge of the performance of the air gun. Nothing was published and no one really cared. I just knew it killed every pigeon that needed taken out of the barn and the occasional rabbit if I could get within spitting distance for range. Latter I discovered that it was sending the 11 grain hobby pellets at 600 fps and almost 9 ft/lbs energy.

I wore the seals out of that rifle twice and shot it constantly until I was 35 years old and had many other firearms. I went looking for it one day to discover that my x-wife had sold it in a yard sale to persons unknown. Things like that are the reason she has been my X-wife for going on 30 years!

After that episode I lived without a pellet rifle for many years and just re-entered the ownership of such things a couple of years ago when the local big box store ran a sale that was too good to pass up, so I bought this Beeman.

Anyway, my computer friend with all the knowledge warned me to stay away from this apparently addictive PCP behavior pattern, but I decided to study up on these high powered air guns that did not have to be pumped and did not have a spring that belonged on a Roman catapult. That was two weeks ago.

At any rate the "Big Brown Truck" pulled up at the house this morning and unloaded a box containing a modern new PCP rifle. Not knowing as much about the technology as some I decided to buy an entry level rifle as a first test, but one I could get some versatility from.

My choice was a Diana Stromrider. It is made in China and is offered under several brands as well as Daina. I bought it from one of the large air gun suppliers over here and they had a used model available they had taken on an upscale trade. It has been inspected from butt plate to muzzle, pressure tested and shot for accuracy and speed before it left the dealer.

Not being a British air gun the numbers are going to be a bit different to your eyes/ears. This rifle chronographed the RWS 11 grain hobby pellets at an average of 928 fps for over 21 ft/lbs energy. After a break in I may be able to get double the ft/lb energy allowed for a British air gun.

And here is where I run into some problems with air gunners over here. They look at numbers like 17 ft/lbs and 20 and 21, and call them good. Then they see a number like 28 or 30 ft/lbs and scream that it is fantastic!

And I have to remind them that the lowly .22 short with a 27 grain bullet at 1075 fps, which is not considered legal fodder for killing much of anything, has 5 times the power of their air gun. Even the .22cb caps, which have no powder in them at all, just priming compound, will send a 27 grain bullet out at 700 fps for 30 ft/lbs energy.

Perhaps I can keep my head on straight. I do not think this will be my last air gun. The quality of this rifle is fantastic, better than my last few "entry level" cartridge rifles. If this back yard air gun plinking thing works out for me I might step up a notch or two. That is another thing I have to deal with concerning the air gun crowd, they think anything under $1000 is a cheap entry level gun!
9 May 2018, 13:15,
RE: Let's Talk About Air Guns
I have several air rifles. In the UK it is the pinnacle of home protection. Only kidding. Although I'm sure that most of the wimps nowadays would be terrorised by any rifle pointing at them.

All of mine are limited to 12lbs. Although the Stasi do try and nick people that have the audacity to actually take it up to 12 by using their own pellets to get it to register in excess of 12. I have two rifles that are adjustable and could be modified if it became necessary. My PCP, which I love and is really accurate comes in about 11lbs and cannot be adjusted without taking it apart and either machining it or replacing a part, with a part you can't buy here.

I prefer the lever ones for prepping as at least I can fix them. PCP is machined.
Skean Dhude
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. - Charles Darwin
9 May 2018, 18:33,
RE: Let's Talk About Air Guns
I have not checked but I am pretty sure the PCP rifles in GB are contained to their sub-12 power level by using a "regulator".

Said regulator is a simple chamber between the pressure tank and the firing port that holds the exact amount of air that will be released at the pull of the trigger.

Over here we have many rifles that come in both regulated and unregulated forms, the difference being only the addition of the regulator. This is done in order to smooth out the performance of the rifle from shot to shot and gives us a decision to make, since the regulated rifles are always weaker than the unregulated rifles. On average a .22 unregulated rifle might shoot a 15 grain pellet at 900fps while it regulated counterpart might only shot 700.

The faster shots will be part of a bell curve of performance and one must study their own rifle to discover where those "top shots" come in. In my case they fall between shots 9 and 21 after a full pump up of my rifle. To adjust for this I only pump the rifle to 17 bar, fire my 10-11 shots and refill the pressure. That gives me top power and top accuracy without waste. I can go for more shots, but they will fall off in both accuracy and power for the next 20 shots.

I will just about guarantee you that there is a You-tube video showing you how to remove or adjust the regulator in your rifle. Just stay away from the British air gun channels and you will find it. We Americans are obsessed with MORE POWER!

In many cases it is the simple act of drilling out the "air chamber" to allow a larger puff. Some folk even add an outside accessible power adjustment screw, so you can dial in the power level you desire from outside the gun, and unless TPTB take the gun apart they will never know the feature exists.

Springers are much easier, especially the actual metal spring models. Your springs are simply shortened or made from smaller gauge wire to control the power level. It is just a spring, and it can be strengthened, replaced or doubled up.

Over here we have companies that do nothing but make springs. They do not make "air gun springs", they just make springs. You look in their catalogs and find a spring of the same diameter, wire gauge and length as your air gun spring, then you order one two inches longer than what you have. I have seen people increase the power of their spring guns by 75 fps with the simple addition of a spring one coil larger than the original.

Gas ram guns are different. With them you just have what you have due to the sealed system.

It does not mean that you have to perform the modification, just that you know how to do it if it is ever needed in a situation where you really don't care what anyone thinks of your power level!

Those squirrels, pigeons and bunnies are not going to kill themselves you know.
11 May 2018, 12:28,
RE: Let's Talk About Air Guns
Thanks for the pointer. I'll have a look. My PCP is well out of warranty. I do have a friend who can mod the springers and we have some springs put aside for when the Stasi decide to remove the 12lb limit.
Skean Dhude
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. - Charles Darwin
11 May 2018, 18:30,
RE: Let's Talk About Air Guns
That habit of TPTB to use their own pellets to get the velocities is perplexing. It appears that they have swallowed the advertising hype that speed equals total performance.

In the first place they are under the impression that velocity achieved using a lighter pellet makes that pellet the standard. Of course that puts a cap on the velocity that provides the with a feeling of control.

Your rifle is required to be weaker than the 12 pound limit due to the need to slow down that "test pellet" to the 12 pound limit.

It does not put a cap on the power because one might achieve more "usable" power, up to that 12 pound limit, using a heavier projectile.

Fortunately there is some math that comes into play. Just as 2x6=12, so does 6X2, 3x4, 4X3 and so on.

The more common 8 grain pellet gets just under 12 pounds at only 820 and the heavy pellets of 13 grains, nearly as heavy as the standard .22 hobby pellet, get their 12 pounds at only 634 FPS.

Add to the numbers the fact that the 8 grain and heavier pellets have better performance on target and the weight X speed calculation becomes a bit less limiting.

I have watched the films of British air gunners shooting rats and I see that most of them hold with their +- 8 grain pellets after testing the lightweight pellets on their quarry and finding them not adequate to anchor a good sized rat.

The limits of math are also what pushes the balance of favor to the .177 in GB. With the lighter 8 grain .177 pellets reaching their top limit at 850 their trajectory is flatter than the average .22 pellet at 600-625 fps. That naturally makes range estimation and sight in distance less critical with the .177.

That is another factor I find to be a constant, the inability of most people to estimate range even at very short distances. Even the experienced shooters will over estimate range, thinking that 20 yards is 25 and that 30-35 yards is 50. I have even seen an "experienced shooter" from one of the networks set up for ratting and saying that he is in the center of a 100 foot long building so his longest shot will be 50 yards. When did 100 divided by 3 become 50? and when did it become 50 from the center of the structure?

I also saw one of those shooters take out a laser range finder and take a reading, claim that could not be correct, and use is own incorrect estimations.

The next thing they do after guessing an incorrect range is to estimate a hold over or better yet a "hold under" for the sights that is absurd.

If one sights in their air gun properly and restricts shots to a proper air gun range then hold over is not even a consideration, and hold under is equally useless until the target is within arms reach.

The combination of guessing range at longer than reality, then holding over to compensate for drop that does not happen equals to a lot of shots going over the heads of game and training them to hide from the shooter at ever longer ranges.

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