Re: Spring Powered Air Rifles

by Paul ⌂, Friday, September 04, 2020, 21:40 (15 days ago)

JT mentions the long drought on here so that got me to thinking about what I've been working on the past while. Air power rules here due to the tight restrictions on firearms. So far we've no power limits, the main problem is in importation which is done through a monopoly or what equates to such here, which drives prices up.

BUT if one is patient, it's amazing what comes available. A while back I got to cogitating on a 25 caliber spring powered rifle. We don't hunt (in fact, they just outlawed all hunting here) and there are no "shooting games" designed for a spring powered 25 caliber rifle - but sometimes one needs something just for the "fun factor". And there's something about a 500-600 FPS 25 caliber pellet that makes such a device highly entertaining. The impact on the swingers is obviously different from that of the smaller calibers.

While perusing our equivalent of fleabay my attention was called to a Hatsan Striker 1000X - that is still being advertised at prices from a couple years ago, despite the fact that the dollar has gone way up and most other vendors have marked up their stock accordingly. I put my Ruger Airhawk on the block and it sold to a promising young man who is interested in getting his feet wet in the Field Target game, so the funds were available. An order was placed and the rifle arrived in due time (pretty quickly, considering the restrictions in place to to the current pandemic panic).

And here comes my observation about folks who are not oriented towards air rifles but see them as a poor substitute for firearms and have about as much knowledge of them as Aunt Mabel does of ANYTHING that shoots. If you take a low end air rifle and expect it to function perfectly out of the box, you're likely in for a surprise, disappointment and a desire to have nothing to do with the aforementioned low end rifle. I've played around with a number of rifles of the years and what I've come to realize is that they all pretty much need some tweaking out of the box.

First, if you don't have a chronograph - you need one to diagnose air rifles correctly. Most issues show up by running a few pellets over the chronograph and paying attention to the numbers.

The Striker 1000X that I took delivery of gave wildly erratic readings with the first pellets down the bore. It was over oiled and poorly lubricated and dieseled something terrible. So after the first few pellets I stripped it down. The seal on the front of the piston was poorly molded and there was grease where there shouldn't be and a host of other issues. After working the rough edges off the piston seal, polishing the spring ends, applying a light coat of grease to the right places, I was rewarded with single digit Standard Deviation with low quality Gamo Hunter pellets. Had so much fun messing with this (relatively) cheap rifle that I sold it that Saturday and ordered another that same day. But that one's for another off topic post.

Anyway, if you can get your hands on a Hatsan or Ruger or Crosman wood stocked, steel barrel, spring powered air rifle, odds are that with a bit of tweaking you too can get it up and shooting much better than you'd expect. Shucks, I've even managed to get a Chinese SPA LB600 to shooting single digit standard deviation, increased the muzzle velocity to close to what they claim it should be (they almost all fall WAY short of claims) and got it to shooting groups instead of MAYBE hitting the pellet trap at 30 feet. On increasing the velocity, it came from cutting the spring and then collapsing several coils. Most of those rifles are "over sprung" for the platform and generate less velocity than they are capable of with a more modest spring setup. It's counter intuitive as we tend to think that more spring means more power. Not necessarily so.

If you've made it thus far, congratulations! We now return you to our regular programming.:-D

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