Monthly Archives: April 2008
There are only a handful of companies that have the type of longevity and reputation as Sheridan, and few rifles with a more loyal following as the venerable Blue Streak (or Silver Streak) .20 cal, pneumatic pump rifle. So I was thrilled when the folks over at PyramydAir.com agreed to let me look at one of their Blue Streak Combos with a Leapers 4×32 MD AO scope.
Not to jump too far ahead but there has always been an issue with mounting a scope on the Sheridan Pneumatic rifles because there are no scope rails and the normal barrel clamps have a tendency to rotate and cause accuracy problems. Also, because they have to be mounted so far forward, your only choice was to mount a long eye relief scope, which was really limiting. Now, however, things have changed, with the introduction of the Air Venturi Intermount provided by PyramydAir.com. This new mounting system securely attaches near the rear of the rifle and provides a Picatinny rail for mounting your choice of optics. This was one of the main reasons that I wanted to take a look at the Sheridan Blue Streak Combo.
The Sheridan Blue Streak Combo consists of the rifle, Air Venturi Intermount, a Leapers 4×32 AO MD scope, and a hard shell case, all safely shipped in a well packed cardboard box for around $245 plus shipping. When I opened the case I found that the techs over at PyramydAir had already mounted the Air Venturi Intermount and the Leapers 4×32 scope, leaving me with the simple job of sighting in the rifle. Along with the rifle I ordered a large sampling of .20 cal pellets for the review, but we’ll get to those later.
The Blue Streak is a smallish rifle that is quite light, even with the scope. The stock is beautiful dark hardwood and is ambidextrous. The rifle is very well put together and feels like something that I’ll be able to hand down to my children. There is a lot of quality in this rifle, all for a very reasonable price.
The rifle follows a very minimalist approach with a fixed ramp front sight and a very simple notch rear sight. It looks as if the vertical adjustment is fairly straightforward, but you may have to apply Kentucky Windage to get on target left to right. Fortunately we are working with a scoped rifle, so the open sights won’t really come into play for this review.
One of the really nice features on the Blue Streak Combo is the new Air Venturi Intermount, which you see pictured below. This came fully assembled and securely attached to the rifle along with the Leapers 4×32 scope. I was very impressed to see how well this whole system was constructed. While my rifle came bundled with a simple 4×32 scope, you can opt to upgrade (for an additional cost) to any scope of your choice prior to your order. Just give the folks at PyramydAir.com a call and let them know how you want your rifle configured and they will take good care of you.
The Leapers 4×32 MD AO scope was a good choice for this rifle as the effective range is about 20 to 30 yards depending on your intended purpose. All our tests were shot at 20 yards. The scope provided a clear shot picture and the MD reticule was helpful when shooting beyond our 20 yard target. The adjustable objective was helpful when moving between distances but because we were dealing with a fixed 4x power scope, I just set it to an average distance and very seldom needed to change it. In fact I only adjusted the AO when I needed to shoot at really close range, but it was nice to have it when I did need it.
The trigger on the Blue Streak is metal and incorporates a manual cross bolt safety. The trigger is a single stage trigger with very little travel and breaks the same way every time. It pulls a little harder than I would like, but it is very adequate for a sporting rifle. When shooting from the bench and using a light hold, trigger control was very important. Because of the hard pull it was very easy to pull or push the shot off target. This was less of an issue when shooting from the shoulder in a hunting situation.
Moving on to the “business” side of the review, the Blue Streak is a bolt action pneumatic rifle, making it a single shot rifle that you need to pump up each time between shots. One major benefit of a pneumatic rifle is that you can pump it up and leave it ready to shoot for extended periods of time, perfect for hunting, but a practice that will wear out most spring rifles prematurely. Another huge benefit of a pneumatic rifle is the extremely light, if any, recoil, so hold and technique is much less of an issue. With the Blue Streak it is literally “point and shoot.”
My only complaint about the Blue Streak is the amount of effort it takes to pump the rifle to maximum capacity. Pumps one to five are pretty easy, but pumps six, seven, and eight, get to be really tough. During my shooting tests I pumped the rifle eight times between each shot and after a full day, I was literally exhausted. As a close range hunting rifle, the Blue Streak excels, but as a back yard plinker for all day shooting, you might want to look elsewhere.
The function and purpose of the Sheridan Blue Streak – it is touted as a great squirrel gun. The .20 caliber pellet is supposed to have a bit more knock-down power than the .177 with a flatter trajectory than a .22. In testing this theory I ran into a few issues. The lighter pellets, say in the 9.8 to 12grn range, did not seem to be very accurate. As I moved up in weight looking for the right pellet, the velocity decreased and so did our “flatter trajectory” theory. The pellets I tested ranged from 9.8grn up to 14.3grn.
Fortunately the best pellet, the JSB Diabolo Exacts, weighted in at 13.5grn, and fit nicely into my assumptions. It averaged 657 FPS at the muzzle, generating 12.9 FT Lbs and 609 FPS at 20 yards putting 11.1 FT Lbs on the target. It was VERY accurate at 20 yards, consistently shooting 3/8” groups or less. If the rule of thumb is that it takes 6 FT Lbs to humanely dispatch a squirrel, the Blue Streak can easily operate at 20 yards and beyond as long as you do your part with shot placement, and the Leapers 4×32 scope makes that easy enough.
JSB Diabolo Exacts gave me the most consistent groupings, as you can see above.
Hight – 664, Low – 650, Average – 657, Difference – 14
Other pellets that deserve an honorable mention were; the Beeman Kodiaks, which had the second best grouping of the day and produced 652 FPS, the Crosman Premiers, which posted our third best group and an average of 642 FPS, and lastly the Benjamin Cylindrical pellets shooting 645 FPS. The pellets that did not perform well were the Beeman Field Target Specials, Beeman Crow Magnums, Beeman H&N Match pellets, and the Beeman Silver Bears. While this is not an exhaustive look at .20 cal pellets, it is a very fair sampling of what you can find out there.
Here are my final thoughts on the Blue Streak Combo. Bottom line, it is well worth the money and while the .20 caliber pellet size may be a bit out of the norm, it certainly has a place when dispatching small game at close to medium range. The new Air Venturi Intermount is a wonderful addition to an already legendary air rifle, giving the shooter the widest possible choice in optics to squeeze out every last drop of performance and accuracy. When you add in the hard shell case and the professional prep done by the PyramyAir techs, you have a value that is hard to beat and guaranteed to be around for a long time.
Well, we are here again with another video. I hope you all have been enjoying the recent video posts and the reviews, I know that I’ve had a ball putting them together.
This video is a complete review of the Benjamin Discovery and our accuracy tests. The rifle performed better than expected, producing some really awesome groups at 25 yards. But don’t take my word for it.. watch the video!
This is a short video of the Crosman C11 Semi-Automatic CO2 BB pistol. While I’m normally not a fan of BB pistols, the C11 really surprised me. The weight and feel was exceptional. BB’s will NEVER be as accurate as pellets, but as a Practical Shooting Training Tool, the C11 excels and it is a real ball to shoot. I hope you enjoy the video. Please keep your comments coming.
Click on the video to start.
Finally more videos for the site! I’ve been so busy with “real” work that all the review stuff got pushed back on the back burner. I’ve got a bunch of products that I’m working on, but one of the most exciting for me has been the Benjamin Discovery. I had a question asked by one of our viewers if a Discovery could shoot a pellet through a 2×4. Well that sounds like a whole lot of fun! Let’s see how it turned out.
Click on the video to start.
Hello again. I was hoping to bring you a dynamite story about the upgraded Gamo Varmint Hunter, but that is going to have to wait. The plan was to install a new scope, GRT III trigger, and an Air Venturi gas spring, but things went south right off the bat.
My assumption that the light and laser would work on other scopes was just dead wrong! I’m sorry for not verifying my facts before putting them out there. I’ll make a real effort to NOT do that again. I did manage to find a scope that would work and meet 2 out of 3 wants that I had. I wanted a scope that was at least a 3×9, had mil-dot cross hairs, and was AO. Well I was able to get the mil-dot and adjustable power, but not the AO. While the laser and light will technically fit on a 40mm objective, on every scope I had at my disposal, there was not enough room for the scope mount. I may have been able to get away with some really thin mounts, but none had a stop pin for the rear mount so that was a no go. Anyway, I managed to get a Crosman 3×9 airgun scope to work ok.. at least for now.
The next project was to upgrade the spring and was where I ran into the lions share of the problems. First of all let me say that if you are not REALLY mechanically inclined then you should not attempt the disassembly of your air rifle. Please leave it to the professionals. If you do decide to tackle the job, please, PLEASE make sure that you have the right tools and you take all the proper precautions. It is not worth getting injured to have your gun shoot an extra 50 fps. In anticipation of eventually doing my own tune ups, I purchased a B Square spring compressor from www.compasseco.com and it works really well. Just buy it and save yourself the headache and frustration of trying to do the job without it.
Ok, so I did the basic dismantling of the rifle and found some really disturbing things. The main spring was really bent, the compression seal had a huge notch in it, and the set screw holding on the scope riser was protruding into the chamber and was the probable cause of the damaged seal. I was really shocked to see all this in a new gun.
Bent main spring
Badly Damaged Main Seal
Scope Riser Screw not flush with the inside of the rifle and protruding into the chamber.
Well seeing as I needed the practice, I proceeded anyway. I thoroughly cleaned the compression chamber and reassembled the rifle using Beeman’s m2m paste and the Air Venturi gas ram. I also installed the GRT III trigger while the gun was in pieces. Once assembled I could not believe the difference in cocking. It was smooth as silk and the recoil was reduced and very different from a standard spring. It is hard to describe but it was really nice.
Unfortunately that is about as far as I’ve gotten. The potential is there to make a really nice rifle, but with the damaged seal, that is out the door for now. There are a few other things that you need to know before you attempt such an endeavor. Once you take the rifle apart your warranty goes out the window. If you are not “OK” with the possibility of a pile of spare airgun parts, than leave the upgrading and tuning to professionals! When you start this process you need to know that you are totally on your own.
I contacted PyramydAir about getting some spare parts so I can do the necessary repairs and get back on track and they don’t carry any. I took their advice and contacted Gamo and I received an email and a contact person to help me get this resolved. From their email, they are very eager to 1. find out why this rifle was in such bad shape, and 2. make every attempt to get it resolved as quickly as possible. In my book, that is definitely the right position for them to take. I guess we’ll see where this goes from here.
Since the Gamo Varmint Hunter is going to the back burner for now, I’ll move on to a couple of Benjamin products that we’ve recently got in, the Discovery and the old and proven Blue Streak, so please check soon.