Xisico (BAM) B50 .22 PCP Rifle with Leapers 3x9x40 AO Scope – Part 3
We are finally going to see how the BAM B50 performs. The first time you pull the trigger you will notice two things. One, this rifle is very loud. Much louder than a standard spring gun. And two, there is NO recoil. It shoots so steady that I could watch pellets travelling over 800 FPS fly and hit their target. The Contender 89 shoots at 800 FPS, but I can’t follow the pellet, because I can’t recover from the recoil in time.
Shooting the B50 takes no effort. Accurate shooting is all on you, once you’ve got the right pellet and have your scope set. In regard to finding the right pellet, it took several shooting sessions to finally come up with the right pellet and I had nearly given up, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I found out a lot about this rifle during all the time I was shooting. For example, I got about 40 consistent shots per fill. That is a lot more than I expected. Next, and more interesting, after a fresh fill, the velocity would drop to about 750 FPS for about 10 shots and then climb back to the high 800s. If I let it sit for a while after filling, it would shoot in the 800s right off the bat. I don’t know enough about the mechanism to explain this phenomenon, I’m just reporting what I found.
The BAM B50 is one hard hitting little rifle. The fact that it has little or no recoil makes it a great hunting gun. I’ve never been more accurate off the shoulder. Anything within 30 yards was toast with 1 shot. The fact that I got 40+ shots over 800 FPS means that hunting with the B50 would be real fun. Unlike a spring gun that you should only cock and load when ready to fire, you can leave the B50 loaded and ready. (Leaving a spring air rifle cocked for long periods of time can wear out the spring prematurely.) Cocking and loading the follow up shot can be done quickly once you get the hang of it.
As mentioned above, finding the right pellet proved difficult. I tried everything in my bag of tricks to get some really good groups. Even my RWS Super pellets were coming up duds! I would get two shots right on top of each other and then the third would wonder off 2 inches in any direction. Man was this frustrating. I could drill a 1/8 dot at 25 yards 3 times and then shot 4 and 5 would be in another county in different directions!
Just about the time I was ready to call it quits, I remembered something I read over at B.B.’s blog. Heavier is sometimes better. In this case it is really true. I was trying pellets that kept me in the high 800s for FPS but what I really needed was something really heavy that can handle the power this gun produces. I started with the Logun Penetrators in 16.0 gn first. There was an immediate improvement. I got nervous on shots 3, 4, and 5 expecting a repeat of my previous attempts, but they all fell right in the same hole. I seldom ever use these pellets because I can’t find them anywhere, any more. Now that I know heavy is better, I grabbed the heaviest I had on hand, my Beeman Kodiak extra heavy 21.10 gn .22 pellets. I don’t normally shoot these because they require so much from the rifle, but the B50 could drive them home EVERY time. There was a real difference in sound when those Kodiaks hit the pellet trap! Better yet, while the Logun pellets may be hard to find, the Kodiaks are fairly easy to get your hands on. We had our winner. Take a look at the following velocity table and groups.
Logun Penetrators 16.0 GN
High – 849, Low – 840, Average – 844, Difference – 9
Beeman Kodiak 21.1 GN.
High – 761, Low – 759, Average – 759, Difference – 2
(the chronograph registered 3 identical shots at 759 FPS in this group!)
Typical 20 Yard grouping before using heavy pellets. Not very impressive!
First group shot with the Logun Penetrators at 20 yards. I did not need to shoot a second group!
And the winner is…. Beeman Kodiak 21.1 GN. Pellets from 20 yards. Again, this was the first group shot with the Kodiaks, no need to shoot a second.
As you can see all of my groups were shooting a bit to the right. After a few hundred pellets and not getting any good groups, I was just thrilled to see the Loguns and the Beemans do so well. I also have very few of both pellets and did not want to waste them adjusting the scope.
In summary, the BAM B50 is quite a gun. I’m not sure that I’d run out and buy one unless I was ready to invest in the gear needed to fill it regularly. If I already had the stuff to fill PCP Rifles and had a source to fill my tanks, then that would be another story. The cost of the BAM B50 is definitely lower than just about any other PCP rifle on the market. There are a couple of reasons for this. The rifle’s cocking and loading mechanism is clunky and difficult to use with a scope on board. Also, and more importantly, I’d like to see an onboard pressure gauge and velocity adjustment wheel like on most other PCP rifles. However, rifles with these features can start at $600 and $800 and go way up from there, so maybe the B50 is just fine the way it is. Bottom line, if you know that PCP is where you are headed, then the B50 is a good option. Anything you get to service this rifle will most likely be transferrable to your next one and so on. By the way, I filled this rifle about 12 times and the scuba tank still barely needs to be cracked to fill the rifle. No telling how long you can go between filling that thing up!
So far the B50 is the hardest hitting, most accurate rifle I’ve tested.. but we may have something in the works even faster… The B40 in .177 shot over 1150 FPS this morning. I’ll have a complete review for you soon so. Stay Tuned!