Sheridan Blue Streak Combo By PyramydAir.com
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.