Beeman Silver Sting .22 Caliber, Oh what a difference the right pellet makes…
Review Product and Supplies provided by:
I’m often asked why I volunteer so much of my time to review these products. It is true that I’m a gun nut so just the opportunity to shoot so many different types of airguns is almost reason enough. Another reason is the sheer challenge of it all. Sometimes you just know that a rifle has the potential to be a real shooter. You just have to find the right combination to see it all come together. The Beeman Silver Sting has proven to be just such a project.
The Silver Sting is based on one of my favorite rifles, the TechForce® Contender 89. The major differences are that the Silver Sting has a composite stock and comes with a nickel plated barrel and receiver rather than a standard blued finish. This rifle represents the top end of Beeman’s Chinese imports.
I really like they way Beeman has designed the Silver Sting. The nickel finish really makes the rifle stand out in a crowd and the contrasting composite stock is simple but feels very solid. The shape of the stock feels a bit too square for me, but that is a really minor point. One other minor flaw was with the plastic covers that protect the stock screws. They quickly came loose and fell off while shooting.
The rifle ships with a Beeman 3-9×40 scope with an adjustable objective. The scope is a good match for this rifle with one small exception. It needs a mil-dot reticule to help with range estimating. The trajectory of a .22 pellet tends to drop significantly beyond 30 yards. Having a mil-dot equipped scope makes all the difference when you are in the field and need to hit targets at different ranges with confidence.
The Silver Sting ships with an upgraded trigger that is far superior to the standard Gamo, Crosman, and other Chinese triggers. It seems to be marginally adjustable via the two screws in the photo below. The safety is automatically set each time you cock the rifle. Taking the rifle off safety becomes second nature after just a few shooting sessions. The trigger does tend to be a little loose, but it is very predictable and easy to work with.
Now back to the challenge posed by the Silver Sting. Knowing that the Silver Sting and the Contender 89 come from the same Chinese factory, I knew that it should have a similar shooting potential. When I got to the range I was shocked to see that the velocity was off pace by about 70 to 80 FPS across the board and the accuracy was nowhere near what it should be, not even close. I was only getting 3” and 4” groups at 20 yards. For a rifle that boasts extraordinarily tight groups, this was absolutely unacceptable. As you can see below, the Crosman Premier Hollow Points, a favorite of the Contender 89, yielded horrible results.
Crosman Hollow Point Premier, 14.3 gr., Average Velocity 664 FPS, 14 foot pounds
With results like that, I nearly gave up, but it takes more than a few bad shot groups to knock me off a project. Working with different holds and pellets I found that the rifle, like most break barrels, is hold sensitive. In fact I found the Silver Sting to be very hold sensitive. The best hold turned out to be the standard “artillery” hold spoken of by Tom Gaylord. Simply rest the forearm, near the balance point of the rifle, in the palm of your hand and don’t grip it, just let it rest there. With your shooting hand, hold the rifle firmly, but not to the point of being ridged and gently squeeze the trigger. Make sure to maintain the proper sight picture and follow through on each shot. Follow through is what happens after you pull the trigger. Spring guns are not like firearms. The pellet travels down the barrel much more slowly than a bullet from a high powered rifle. You need to let the gun finish moving around before you move or change position. By using a proper follow through technique you will find your groups improve significantly.
The following photos are two more groups with increasing accuracy. The first group was shot with the Beeman Kodiak Pellets. They only managed to generate just over 600 FPS. The second, and more accurate group was shot with the Beeman Silver Bear pellet which is a lightweight pellet that has proven to be pretty accurate across several different rifles.
Beeman Kodiak Extra Heavy Pellets, 21.1 gr., Average Velocity 606 FPS, 17.21 foot pounds
Beeman Silver Bear, 12.65 gr., Average Velocity 725 FPS, 14.77 foot pounds
Now that the groups were improving, yet nowhere near what they should be, I knew I was on to something. I only had to find the magic combination. And then, after several days of shooting, about a dozen different types of pellets, and about 100 shot cards, I found it. The Gamo Hunter pellets came out on top and yielded the following group.
Gamo Hunter Pellets, 15.3 gr., Average Velocity 650 FPS, 14.36 foot pounds
This was the satisfaction that I was waiting for. With the right hold and pellet, the Silver Sting shot these groups all day long. It was an amazing thing to go from 4” groups all the way down to groups the size of dime. Here’s the best part, it will consistently shoot dime sized groups as long as you do your part. What started as an utter disappointment turned out to be a really excellent shooting rifle.
The Beeman Silver Sting is a decent shooting rifle when you have the right pellet and use the right technique. It generates velocities that are a little on the low side for me, but adequate for 20 to 30 yards. I want to thank PyramydAir.com for providing this review item and all the supplies. The rifle, which seems to have had a small facelift since my sample product arrived, sells for $220.