TechForce® 97 – Another look at a descent little rifle…
The last time that I looked at the TechForce® 97 I was happy with all that this little rifle had to offer, with only one exception. The velocity was lower than I expected. After talking with the folks over at Compasseco, the developers of the TechForce® line of airguns, we came to the conclusion that I must have gotten one with a weak spring, so they sent me a new rifle to review.
TechForce® 97 Left Side
TechForce® 97 Right Side
The new TechForce® 97 was much like the first with a nicely finished stock, open sights, and built-in scope stop. The one improvement that I noticed right away was the trigger. This TF 97 trigger seemed to be much smoother than the last rifle I tested. I’m not sure which is “normal” but this one is better than the last. Anyway, the other good news is that the velocity is more in line with what I would have expected. This rifle shoots in the low 600s to high 600s depending on which lead pellet you choose, and the mid to high 800s with Crosman lead free pellets. We’ll get to specific velocities a little later in the review.
Sighting in the new TechForce® 97 was pretty straight forward. And while I managed to use the open sights, I’ve come to realize that the TechForce® 97 and its big brother the TechForce® 99 Premier, are meant to be scoped. I wish they would put a little nicer set of sights on these guns. Even the simple TruGlo sights on the Mendoza RM200 would be better.
Hooded Front sight on the TechForce® 97
Microclick Rear Sight on the TechForce® 97 – While these sights “work,” they are quite crude.
This is 1 of only 2 complaints that I have with the TechForce® 97.
I decided to mount a Leapers BugBuster II 6X AO IR scope for this review. Once mounted, I noticed that the compact BugBuster is the wrong choice for this gun. The scope stop pushes the scope too far forward and the eye relief is not acceptable. But with the scope now mounted, I decided to just move forward with the review.
Just a quick note about the Leapers BugBuster II Scope, it has an illuminated mil-dot reticule and front AO adjustment that adjusts down to 5 yards. The compact nature of the scope may limit the number of rifles this scope can be comfortably used with, so you’ll need to make sure that the rifle has a short stock or you’ll have the same problem with the eye relief. Even with the uncomfortable shooting position, I was able to get the scope sighted in relatively quickly. For this review I shot at 10 and 27 yards and I got excellent results at both. The 6X fixed magnification worked well at both distances.
When it comes to cocking and shooting the TF 97, you will be pleasantly surprised. With only an 18lb cocking effort and a carry around weight of about 7.4lbs, this rifle is meant to be shot all day. With the velocity now up to a decent level, you could even take small game at distances out to 20 yards as long as you do your part. The TF 97 delivers on accuracy and with practice you can keep very tight groups out to 27 yards as the following photos will show. I shot the TF 97 from many different positions and found it to be only moderately hold sensitive. I got the best results using my Predator Shooting rest.
The TechForce® 97 is an under lever cocking rifle. The lever under
the barrel cocks with only about 12 to 18 lbs of force making it a great youth rifle.
The loading port is easily accessible with this shorter scope. A longer scope would make it a bit more difficult to load pellets quickly. Keep this in mind when making your scope selection. I’d recommend using high rings to give yourself more clearance.
TechForce® 97 uses 3 “triggers”; the cocking lever release, safety, and the actual trigger to fire the rifle. The rear most trigger is the cocking lever return release. You push this to return the cocking lever to the start position. The front most “trigger” is the automatic safety. You’ll need to pull this towards you each time before you shot. The middle “trigger” is the actual trigger. The trigger on this gun was better than the first, feeling lighter and more predictable.
I shot many different pellets in this rifle and found the TechForce® .177 wadcutters to be the best fit. I got very tight groups at 10 yards and 27 yards. The velocity was in the low 600s as shown below. Other pellets such as the Crosman Premier Hollow Points, actually posted higher velocity, and grouped well at both ranges, just not quite as good as the TechForce® .177 Wadcutters.
TechForce® Match Wadcutter Pellets
High – 633, Low – 619, Average – 625, Difference – 14
Crosman Premier Hollow Points
High – 654, Low – 643, Average – 649, Difference – 11
RWS Hobby Pellets
High – 695, Low – 687, Average – 691, Difference – 8
Crosman Lead Free Hollow Points
High – 887, Low – 836, Average -867, Difference – 51
TechForce® Match Wadcutters at 10 yards
TechForce® Match Wadcutters at 27 yards
So our second look at the TechForce® 97 was better than our first. The rated velocity is supposed to be up around 900 FPS in .177 so our mid 600 FPS was still much lower than I would have expected (my second complaint), but it is better than the 500 FPS we got from our first test rifle. At only $99 this is a decent choice for both young and old shooters. The easy cocking effort and relatively light weight will allow young shooters to use this gun with ease. As with all airguns, make sure that your young shooter has the proper supervision. Even a low powered rifle can cause serious injury if used improperly.
I hope you have enjoyed our second look at the TechForce® 97. We will be looking at the TechForce 99 Premiere with Leapers 3x9x40 IR AO scope next, followed by a Daisy 953 with target sights. So check back soon!