Accuracy means different things to different people!
Ok, you know that I live in the south, so expect the “southern” stuff to come out now and again. And speaking of “southern” things, don’t you just love shooting coke cans from your front porch? Which brings me to our topic of discussion. When you hear someone say they have an “accurate” rifle, what do you think they mean? Not to long ago I was at a friend’s house and I was trying out my first “real” pellet rifle. I was bouncing a coke can all over the yard and really thought it was an accurate rifle. Now that I’ve got some shooting time under my belt, I have a different understanding of the term “accuracy.” There was a day that just hitting the can made me feel good, now I’m only happy if I’m able to keep 5 shots in the O in Coke. For this article I wanted to spotlight two ends of the spectrum. One is the “Hitting the coke can” just about every time, and the other is 5 shots in one ragged hole type of accuracy.
The first type of shooting can be done with even a very inexpensive rifle bought down at Wal-mart. As a short addendum to my previous post about buying air guns at Wal-mart, as long as you don’t expect too much and keep it under $50 you might get something you can have some fun with. I first bought a Remington 77 Air Master for about $70. But between the impossible bb loading and even more impossible pellet loading, oh and the fact that it was hard as heck to cock… it went back fairly quickly. When you can get a Mendoza .22 for $90, how can you justify spending $70 on something that is just awful. Anyway, when I returned it, I decided to get something I could use for just quick, fun plinking that would not cost too much. Also, I have a bunch of nieces and nephews that may get it for their birthday or such occasion, so it would not go to waste. Any chance I can get to help expose a young person to the proper, safe, shooting, I take it. Just as long as their parents are on board. Anyway I got the Crosman 66 Powermaster for the job. It was cheap, came with safety gear, starter BBs, decent pellets, and some targets, all for less than $50. The main reason I got this over the other “cheap” options is the fact that it had a 5 shot pellet clip, making it VERY easy to load pellets. I don’t even bother with BBs as they are just terrible for accuracy. As far as I can see the gun is nearly entirely plastic with a rifled steal barrel, and front fiber optic sight. The rear sight is “fully” adjustable, but not without a lot heartburn.
I had some fun with this little gun. I’ve tried every pellet in my ammo box and used varying amount of pumps to see what gave me the best accuracy. I found that 5 pumps and the included Crosman .177 Copperhead Field Hunting Pointed and the Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets yielded the best groupings. I tried several others including, Daisy’s precision pointed, Gamo Rockets, and Gamo PBA. With the exception of the Gamo PBA, the others grouped ok, but they were not nearly as consistent as the Crosman pellets. For this shooting exercise I shot from 10 meters with a bench and rest for the rifle. I tried using the fixed sights at first, but I found them very hard to adjust and use. I finally mounted the included 4×15 “precision” (yeah right) scope. I wanted to keep this as “stock” as possible just to see what I could get from it out of the box. The scope helped. After about 5 shots, I knew I had dialed it in about as good as it was going to get. I started shooting my groups all with 10 pumps, the maximum for this rifle. The paperwork states that I should achieve about 680 fps, but seeing as I don’t yet have a chronograph, I can’t confirm what I was getting. At tem pumps about 1 in 4 shots were flyers. And when I say flyers, I mean 2″ in any direction types of flyers. Can’t tell you why that was happening other than the b.b. / pellet barrel was not holding the pellets tight enough to deal with the velocity causing them to go wildly one way or another. As I started backing down the pumps, I found that 5 was the magic number to achieve any sort of consistent accuracy. Remember “accuracy” for this test was hitting the coke can every time. I managed to get the groups down to just larger than a quarter. I think I could definitely hit the can EVERY time with this gun. For some this may be all they need, but for me.. I wanted the 5 shots in the O remember….
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m new to all of this. Also, I don’t yet have vendors sending me their really nice guns to review, so I have to pay for all this stuff out of my own pocket. (much to my wife’s chagrin) My second air rifle purchase was from Cabelas. From a mass market perspective, I really like Cabelas. They have a good selection of main stream products for reasonable prices. Seeing as I also shoot regular firearms and also reload, they have been a consistent source of products for me. Moving on. Occasionally they have outstanding clearance items and recently I saw they had a special on some remanufactured Beeman GH150 .22 rifles, scoped for only $149. (Yes last check they STILL have some) Knowing that Beeman does not make their own guns but rather imports and puts their name on them, as well as finding out they have started importing cheaper and less accurate Chinese guns, I did a lot of research about this rifle before I bought it. I found out that this rifle is made in Spain by Norinca. Feeling confident that it was not some crappy
Chinese product, I decided to order it.
I’ve had this rifle for a few months now. I did not like the Beeman scope so that was replaced with a Leapers 3x9x40 AO, IR, Mil-Dot, scope. This rifle is a beast to shoot after shooting that plastic Crosman 66 Powermaster. You really don’t notice the recoil until you shoot it after something that does not have any. It is a violent gun to shoot. On paper this rifle is supposed to send .22 pellets downrange at nearly 800 fps. Once I get my chronograph I’ll be able to really know what these rifles are doing. This rifle’s accuracy has been difficult to judge. I know it is supposed to be accurate so I have to first assume that it is my shooting (hate to admit that). I got the new scope only a couple of weeks ago, and I’m finally taking the time to really dial it in. Also taking the advice from B.B. over at Pyramid Air, I ordered a boat load of those Crosman Premier pellets in the cardboard box. They are excellent pellets for this rifle, as are the 16g Logun Penetrators, and the Gamo Magnums. In fact, just about anything reasonably heavy shoots decent in this rifle. Once the scope was dialed in, I shot using the same method as above: 10 meters, from a bench and a cushioned rest for the rifle. I don’t rest the rifle directly on the rest, but rather cradle it in my hand as this gun is fairly hold sensitive. Anyway, I’ll let the pictures do the talking as for the accuracy.
With this rifle matched with the leapers scope, I can consistently put 5 pellets through one ragged hole. What is even more amazing is that I can do it with several types of pellets. Here is a photo of a group shot with the 16g Logun Penetrators. It was even better than the Crosman Premier pellets. That is truly 5 pellets in nearly the same hole.
All in all it made for a fun afternoon of shooting. By the way, I have about $250 invested in the Beeman rifle: $150 for the rifle and $100 for the scope. I’m very impressed to get this kind of accuracy out of only $250. My next article/review will be on the Gamo 440 which was my first high powered air rifle. There is a bit of a story to this, so I hope you’ll come back and read about it.
Happy (and safe) shooting!