TechForce® 97 Under Lever, Spring Air Rifle
This TechForce® 97 is provided to us by www.Compasseco.com. Compasseco, is the primary importer of the TechForce® line of air rifles and they have worked very hard to bring high quality, cost effective air rifles to the market. The TechForce® 97 is a good example of their efforts.
The TechForce® 97 is an under lever cocking spring air rifle that retails for about $99. There are several things that make this rifle unique. First of all, it is NOT a break barrel rifle, but rather has a fixed barrel, ensuring many years of accurate shooting. Most under lever cocking air rifles start at $199 and go up from there. What also makes this rifle unique is its 12 lb cocking effort. This would be a perfect rifle for the young shooter. It is reasonably accurate and you can shoot it all day long and not get fatigued. Weighing in at about 7 lbs you won’t get tired if you decide to take it with you for some light hunting.
TechForce® 97 Left Side View
TechForce® 97 Right Side View
The stock and finish on the 97 are very nice for a rifle in this price range. They are definitely not up to the same quality as a BAM B26, but the B26 is about twice the price. It is important to keep things in perspective when looking at rifles in this price range. Your expectations need to match the product. With that said, the more I shot this little rifle, the more I really liked it.
The TechForce® 97 is touted as a “sporting” rifle and NOT a “target” rifle. You need to keep this in mind when buying this air gun. If you want to put 5 shots in the same hole, this is not the rifle for you. If you want to take a squirrel out of a tree at 45 feet, now we’re talking. You’ll see what I mean when we get to the shooting part of this review.
The 97 comes with a set of open sights. They are not the nicest I’ve seen, but certainly not the worst. I do wish they were fiber optic. I’m not sure how much more that would add to the cost, but I think it would be worth it and make it a whole lot easier to shoot, and increase the open sight accuracy.
Hooded Front Sight
Click Adjustable Rear Sight
While I did take some time and shoot some open sight groups, see below, for this review I mounted my BSA 4×32 AO scope. I really like this scope for 10 to 15 yards. I setup to shoot from about 13 yards for this review. The 97 has a built-in scope stop which is really nice. Mounting the scope was straight forward and easy, just like it should be.
To cock the 97, you only need to grab the under lever and pull it down. You’ll notice immediately just how easy this gun is to cock. What a dream. Once the lever is all the way down and you hear the “click” telling you that the sear has engaged, you’ll need to master the levers in the trigger guard, (reminds me of “three sea shells” in the movie Demolition Man). The lever in the rear is the release that allows you to return the cocking lever. Sometimes you’ll need to give a little down pressure to get the lever to release, but you’ll get the hang of it. The front lever is the automatic safety that resets every time you cock the rifle. The middle lever is of course the trigger. Back to the “sporting” adjective used to describe this rifle. Don’t expect much from this trigger. It is VERY hard to pull and makes highly accurate shooting impossible. That is not to say that you can’t get used to it, I did after several sessions of shooting.
The three levers from left to right:
anti-bear trap release, trigger, automatic safety.
Once you’ve got the rifle cocked, you need to load a pellet into the loading port. The opening is fairly large and I don’t imagine that someone would have a problem loading a pellet unless they had really big fingers. While shooting a variety of pellets, many did not want to fit securely into the breach. You need to make sure that the pellet STAYS in the breach before you close the lever or you may jam the mechanism. Once the gun is loaded and the cocking lever is back in position, you are ready to shoot. And shoot I did. I tried about 12 different types of pellets to finally land on the RWS Hobby pellet as the pellet of choice for this rifle. Here is how they performed.
RWS Hobby Pellet, .177, 7.0gn
High – 538, Low – 515, Average – 522, Difference – 23 FPS
On www.compasseco.com the TechForce® 97 is rated at 900 FPS in .177. Obviously this particular 97 has a problem or the gun’s velocity is grossly over estimated. I’ll be sure to follow up with Compasseco and get back with everyone to see if our test rifle is “normal” or if we got a dud.
As far as accurcy goes, the TechForce® 97 is not a bad shooting little gun. As you can see below, the open sight group is really not bad and things improved once I mounted the scope.
RWS Hobby pellets from 13 yards, open sights
RWS Hobby Pellets from 13 yards, 4×32 AO Scope
Ok, so the TechForce® 97, at least ours, did not measure up to the 900 FPS, but it did shoot reasonably well and was fairly easy to shoot. The only “real” complaint was the trigger. It should be easier to pull. Given that our rifle only shot just over 500 FPS, I would not recommend this rifle for hunting. I believe you’d wind up wounding your game rather than achieving a clean, one shot kill. However, if our rifle was the exception rather than the rule, and the average 97 generates near 800 FPS, then it would make a very decent light hunting rifle.
At $99, the TechForce® 97 is a great option for the young shooter and the casual plinker alike.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this review. Our next review will be on the BAM B50 PCP rifle in .22. I’m very excited to be able to bring this review to you all. The review on the BAM B26 in .177 will be coming soon and will be written by a good friend of mine. Actually, he was the one that got me started with adult air rifles. While shooting this past Friday, he up and left with my B26 he liked it so much. Later that day he called to tell me that he was shooting nickel sized groups from 20 yards with open sights, and generating over 950 FPS! I can’t wait to read his complete review. Maybe we can get him to keep writing! And waiting in the wings we still have the B40 in .177 and a couple of pistols as well so Stay Tuned!