Xisico (BAM) B26 .22 Break Barrel Rifle with 3x9x40 AO Scope
This article stems from a request from the folks over at www.AirgunDepot.com. They asked me to take a look at 8 different Xisico air guns and report on their overall quality, accuracy, and reliability. The Xisico article can be read in full here: Xisico Air Guns – General Review. What I found is that, like every other manufacturer, Xisico has several “layers” of products all in different price categories. Their inexpensive products are just that, inexpensive products. But when you reach the B26 on the way up the price scale, things change immediately.
In our set of products, the B26 came right after the B12 (see overview article for more information). The difference between these two guns is dramatic and the quality continues up the line from there. The B26 is a copy of the Beeman R9 break barrel rifle that sells for about $395.00 without a scope. Not having an R9 to compare the B26 to side by side, I can only make very general comparisons. The B26 on the other hand retails for about $189, although I’ve seen it as low as $140.
When I first opened all the rifles that came in for the Xisico review, I immediately gravitated to the B26 over all the others. It looked refined and precision crafted. The wood stock was very nicely stained and the steel was evenly blued. It was very lightweight and with the TruGlo sights was begging for some immediate shooting. Right out of the box the B26 performed well. With open sights at 15 yards, it held a respectable .75″ group. From what I understand the B26 is a sporting rifle and not a target rifle. Its size and weight make it perfect for hunting in close quarters and its easy cocking effort make it a great choice for younger shooters.
Our first B26 had a little problem with the trigger adjustment and the safety. You can read about the experience here: A Quick Note About Safety. After talking with Xisico they assured me that this was not the norm and I sent this rifle back to them to review. A few days later the replacement B26 arrived complete with a Xisico 3x9x40 AO scope and one piece mount. This gun looked just as good as the first one and better yet, the trigger and safety worked correctly. It is important to note that EVERY manufacturer will have something now and then come off the line with issues. It is YOUR responsibility to treat every gun like it is defective until you have fully proven that it is not. And even then it is better to be safe than sorry. Don’t trust safeties, always assume the gun is loaded and ready to fire, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, keep it pointed in a safe direction.
Our tests of the B26 started over our trip to Vermont. While I was shooting the B40, Contender 89, and other rifles, my 13 year old niece took to shooting the B26. Surprisingly, she was able to cock the gun on her own and spent the whole day shooting targets from 10 yards to 50 yards. This was her first time shooting anything and she had a real blast. It was hard to get it from her so I could do this review! While this is an adult air rifle, because it it light and relatively easy to cock, it would make a great starter rifle for the young shooter. It shoots fast and accurate, with minimum problems with recoil and hold sensitivity.
Now that the basics are done, lets take a closer look at the B26. The wood is a lighter color, which I like, and the metal is a deep dark blue. This rifle is in the mid to full size category measuring 43″ and weighing in at 7.3 pounds.
Xisico (BAM) B26 Rifle on MTM shooting rest
Xisico (BAM) B26 Rifle on MTM shooting rest
The rifle ships with a very nice set of open sights that sport bright TruGlo inserts. Because of the size and weight, this rifle screams to be used in the woods. My preference is to use the rifle WITHOUT a scope because the sights are really nice and very accurate. They are micro-click adjustable so getting on target is a real snap.
Rear sight – Xisico (BAM) B26 Rifle
Front sight – Xisico (BAM) B26 Rifle
Although I really like the simplicity of the open sights, for the accuracy part of this review, we have the Xisico 3x9x40 scope and one piece mount. The mount has a stop pin that lines up with a hole in the top of the rifle. If you are going to mount a scope, you need to either get a scope stop, or a set of mounts that has a stop pin. If you don’t, the scope will slowly work its way off the back of your rifle due to the recoil.
Xisico 3x9x40 AO scope
The Xisico scope is a decent scope with a mil-dot reticule. I have fallen in love with mil-dot scopes. A rifle like this is perfect for one. In .22 the bullet will tend to drop faster than .177, but I’ve found that even at range they tend to be very accurate. Having a mil-dot scope will help you with “hold over” so that you can be more precise at longer ranges. While this is a decent scope, it is not quite as nice as my Leapers 3x9x40, and I found the eye relief to be unforgiving. You have to be in JUST the right spot to get a clear picture. Once acquired, the picture is bright and clear and the AO works very well. The “easy adjust knobs” round out the nice features and make quick adjustment easy. All in all, this scope is a good match for this rifle.
The final aspect that I want to spotlight, and my favorite part of this rifle, is the trigger. As mentioned above, the B26 is a copy of the Beeman R9 and that includes the famous Rekord Trigger. Many entry level products skimp on this very important part of the gun. As I stated in the GRT-III trigger review, I’d rather them keep the mediocre scope, they often bundle, and build a rifle with a good trigger system. Anyway, I think Xisico must have read my mind as they let you get the optics of your choice while providing the best possible platform in this price range. This is an all metal trigger and trigger guard adding to the overall quality of this rifle. The adjustment screw at the rear is all you need to adjust this trigger to your liking. It breaks very clean and completes this rifle nicely.
Now let’s talk about what is really important in a gun. While looks are important, looks aren’t going to clear those pests out of your garden. Fortunately, the B26 does not disappoint! In general the B26 is a very nice shooting rifle. Since it is a springer, and is kind of light, it does take some technique to get the most from this rifle. Be patient and practice, you will learn to love this gun. From the start, I got decent groups, in the 3/4″ range with open sights at 15 yards. Once I added a scope things got better. The trigger takes some getting used to. Not because it is not a nice trigger, I’ve just gotten so used to really awful triggers, that shooting something with a light, predictable pull took some time!
Before we talk accuracy, let’s talk velocity and pellet choice. The B26 likes the RWS line of pellets pretty well, but REALLY likes the Crosman Premier Hollow Points. I got decent results with the RWS Super line of pellets, but the RWS Meisterkugeln Wadcutters were the best RWS pellets.
RWS Miesterkugeln Wadcutters
High – 685, Low – 679, Average – 681, Difference – 6
Crosman Premier Hollow Points
High – 678, Low -674, Average – 675, Difference – 4
RWS Superdome Pellets
High – 671, Low – 665, Average 668, Difference – 6
As you can see, the power plant is very consistent.
For the following groups, we did all our shooting from the rest at 20 yards.
RWS Miesterkugeln Wadcutters, 20 yards
Crosman Premier Hollow Points, 20 yards
This next group was shot while in Vermont from a rest at 30 yards using RWS Superdome pellets. Now that I know more about this rifle, I believe that I could get a better 30 yard group, but wanted to include this one so that you can see that at 30 yards, the groups did not open up much.
RWS Superdomes shot from 30 yards
I know this has been a lengthy review and I’m going to wrap things up. The B26 retails for anywhere from $140 to $190 on-line. When you add a decent scope, you can plan on your final cost to be between $200 and $260. I have seen one vendor selling a B26 with 3x9x40 AO scope for only $179, but I’ve not had any dealings with them so I’d rather not point people their direction at this time. I can say that www.compasseco.com currently carries the B26 and www.airgundepot.com should be carrying them soon. I believe Pyramid Air also carries certain of the BAM product line. The bottom line is that the B26 is just a really nice rifle and if you can find one with a scope for around $220 you’ll be very happy you did. The .22 version is a great rifle for everyday use and for clearing pests. While it may take some time to get used to the recoil, it is much easier to deal with than many other rifles that I’ve tested.
We’ll be looking at the B40 in .22 next. And coming soon, we’ve got both the B26 and B40 in .177, along with samples of Xisico pellet, not to mention the TechForce® 97. We’ve got a lot more to come so Stay Tuned!