Pneumatic Pnews

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Compasseco has a NEW blog!

by Tex Force

This is the last posting on this blog. Compasseco has a new blog site, and I'll continue to publish news and stories there. No more comments can be posted on this site. If you have questions about postings on this old blog, ask them on the new one. I'll continue to answer them. See you there!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tech Force Contender 49
A new spring rifle!

by Tex Force

Scoped with a Tech Force 4x32, the new Tech Force 49 is a beautiful air rifle.

Are you looking for something new and different? If so, Compasseco has just brought out their new Tech Force Contender 49, a completely new spring-piston breakbarrel air rifle. Just in time for Christmas, this new rifle is lightweight, accurate and easy to cock. It's one of those guns you'll love to shoot all day and never tire you out!

Read all about it!
Compasseco has several new articles up on their website, with a review of this one, too. The article compares the gun to the Beeman R7, but you could buy three TF 49s for the price of one R7 and have money left over for a scope. The R7 is a fine gun, but the new TF49 deserves a close look, too.

This is a "big" little air rifle
What I mean by that is the dimensions are adult-sized, at 45" overall, but the weight is a mere 6 lbs., so this is an airgun you can carry a long time without getting tired. It's physically larger than the R7, but it's lighter and just as trim.

A surprisingly good trigger
I was surprised when I first saw the gun, because nothing had prepared me for what to expect. It looks like an average breakbarrel, but one with a better finish than Chinese guns have had in the past. Then, I saw the trigger. The Tech Force Contender-Series airguns have improved features, and this trigger is one of them. It is plastic instead of the rolled sheetmetal usually found. When you shoot the rifle, you'll see how easy and crisp it feels. It's a two-stage unit with a light first stage and a positive second. The pull-weight measured about 3.9 lbs. to 4 lbs. on my rifle, and the release was always crisp with no felt creep.

Scoping the gun
The rifle comes without sights, so a scope is needed. I installed a Tech Force 4x32 Heavy-Duty Hunting Scope, which suits the size of the rifle perfectly. It's clean and easy to use, and it doesn't stretch the budget too much, either!

Prep the barrel before you shoot
The barrel is long, at nearly 19". It's finely rifled, but after reading the Compasseco article, I cleaned my barrel with J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound. In fact, it's a good idea to clean all new barrels that way, because they all have rust and metal burrs that need removing, unless the barrel was handmade. Sure enough, the brush met with resistance at first but smoothed out toward the middle of the cleaning. Following that, I cleaned every bit of compound from the bore, leaving a clean dry surface. Then, I was ready to shoot!

Easy to cock, a dream to shoot!
The rifle is extremely easy to cock! I measured just 17 lbs. of force to fully cock the piston. Cocking automatically sets the safety, which is a button on the left side of the receiver, just above the trigger. Load the gun, close the barrel and push in the safety until it clicks off. You're ready to fire the gun! A word of caution during loading: always restrain the barrel of any breakbarrel rifle by holding the muzzle with your other hand as you load. If the sear slipped and the rifle fired, your hand on the barrel would stop it from closing on your fingers.

As mentioned, the trigger is very crisp. Shooters will enjoy it! The firing behavior is quick and solid, with no vibration or buzzing after the shot. It feels like the action of a finely tuned rifle, but that's just how it came from the box! Accuracy was in the 1" range for five shots with good pellets at 25 yards.

If you're looking for a neat new breakbarrel, the TF49 might be the gun you want.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Let's talk about oiling a spring gun

by Tex Force

Spring gun oiling is a subject that baffles many owners. They buy a rifle, then they hear about oiling and wonder what they should do. I'll try to simplify the subject of spring gun oiling.

Where to oil?
There are two main places where a spring gun may need oil and a host of smaller ones. The smaller ones are various parts of the cocking linkage that need oil to operate smoothly. Every gun is different, but the basic guideline is this: if it moves, it needs to be lubricated. On breakbarrels, the barrel joint is obvious. On underlevers, the cocking linkage has several spots to lube. It's easy to figure out when the gun is in front of you.

Don't over-oil!
It's better to use too little oil than too much. A spring gun comes from the factory lubricated and ready to go for the most part. Lube it only when you can see a reason to...joints start squeaking, etc. You shouldn't need to lube any more than once a year, and I have guns I haven't lubed in five years.

The mainspring
The mainspring is one of two principal spots to lube. Use lube very sparingly. Just because a spring looks dry doesn't mean that it is. Diana mainsprings almost always look dry when they actually have adequate lubrication for several years. They are shot-peened, which creates a rough surface that appears dry but actually holds lubricant in the tiny pits on the surface of the spring.

Put lubricating oil on the mainspring. A good product is RWS Spring Cylinder oil. That sounds strange, but you need to know that chamber oil IS NOT suitable for lubricating metal-to-metal surfaces. It's too thin and will not protect the metal parts, which then rub together and create shiny spots known as galling. Always use a lubricating oil on the mainspring. If the spring is so dry that it has shiny spots, use about 10 drops of oil applied through the cocking slot. The action of cocking and firing distributes the oils, so don't worry about not being able to see the entire spring. If just the spring needs some oil, use five drops.

The chamber
You lubricate the chamber for an entirely different reason. The oil creates an airtight seal around the rim of the piston seal, making the gun more efficient. There's a danger in oiling the chamber. Excess oil burns off in loud explosions called detonations. This is not dieseling, which every spring gun does. Detonations are much worse and can break parts in a gun - especially the mainspring. If you lube the chamber of a gun that has a modern synthetic piston seal, use no more than two drops of oil down the air transfer port (that hole behind the barrel).

How do you know if you have a synthetic piston seal?
The age of the gun is the determinant. Almost all airguns made since 1980 have synthetic piston seals. Older guns had leather seals, and those got a lot more lubrication - maybe five drops every six months.

Some guns want very little oil
RWS Diana airguns such as the model 34 need next to no lubrication. Maybe one drop of RWS Chamber Lube every year or 3,000 pellets. HW guns need more - maybe two drops every 2,000 shots or year. Chinese guns also need more. The TF99 and 97 should be lubed like an HW gun. The rule to follow if you don't know differently is to err on the side of less rather than more lubrication.

Lubricating a spring-piston airgun is not a daunting task, nor it is one you must do often. If you watch how your gun performs, it will often tell you when it needs oil.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Crosman 2100B
The affordable multi-pump!

by Tex Force

A lot of you are looking to get into airguns, but you aren't ready to sink over a hundred dollars into a gun. Well, you don't have to! Crosman's 2100B is a 10-pump rifle in .177 caliber that shoots both BBs and pellets and is very affordable at under $60!

The 2100-series guns began manufacture in 1983, so they have been around in one form or another for over 20 years. During that time, there have also been .22 caliber 2200s made (1983-2003), but they were discontinued several years ago. Only the 2100B remains. There was a walnut-stocked version of the rifle for awhile. Curiously, it did not have the BB-firing facility, probably due to the solid wood stock that prevented loading.

The rifle weighs 4.7 lbs. and is 39.75" long. It has a fiberoptic front sight and an adjustable rear sight that are all you'll need to get started. For extra accuracy, however, the rifle does have an 11mm dovetail atop the receiver to accept regular airgun scope mounts.

Two types of ammo
The 2100B has a specially rifled barrel that permits the use of steel BBs. A reservoir in the pistol grip holds up to 200 BBs, and 17 can be loaded into the magazine. When the magazine empties, you fill it from the reservoir; no BBs have to be touched for this operation.

Shooting BBs
BBs will go up to 755 f.p.s. on the full 10 pumps, but you can also pump fewer times for less velocity. This is called controlled power, and it's one of the reasons multi-pumps are so popular. For plinking in the basement, five easy pumps is all you need. Remember...when shooting BBs, there's a danger of ricochet and direct bounceback, so always wear safety glasses and don't shoot at hard targets, such as trees or metal objects.

While BBs give the highest velocity, they aren't as accurate as lead pellets, nor do they pack the same punch. Hunters will prefer lead pellets for all shooting. Here is an interesting fact. The owner's manual says you can pump the gun up to 10 times, but James House stopped at eight when he tested the 2100B for his book, American Air Rifles. Even with that, the 2100 was one of only two rifles that met the factory spec for velocity! With 10 pumps, pellets exceed the spec (725 f.p.s.) by a small amount, making it the power equivalent of the Benjamin 397, which sells for double the price!

Shooting pellets
Surprisingly, the 2100B out-grouped a Benjamin 397 when House tested both side-by-side for his book. It was shooting three-shot groups smaller than a half-inch at 30 yards, which would translate to a 0.70" group for five shots. That is excellent hunting accuracy from a rifle that has the power it takes to harvest game up to the size of rabbits, squirrels and pigeons.

Scoping the 2100B
I would recommend the Tech Force 2.5x20 Heavy Duty Hunting Scope for this rifle. It's priced right, and its power is perfect for the range of the 2100B. You'll also need to get scope rings for the rifle. With these extra items, you still have a wonderful air rifle combination for about $90.

2104 combo is a real deal!
To save even more money, get the 2104X combo that comes with a gun and a scope. You'll save about $25 buying it this way, because the package is put together by Crosman and they buy scopes in volume. While the scope included in the combo doesn't have the same big bright sight picture as the Tech Force scope I recommended, it's still fine for all purposes.

Christmas is coming
If the 2100B sounds like a good gun to you, this may be the perfect time to drop a hint to the right party. Perhaps you might even bookmark this web page to make the process a little easier! The 2100B has been around a long time and is one of those classic air rifles that never goes out of style. If you're in the market for a powerful, versatile multi-pump, this one will save money without costing performance.

Monday, November 06, 2006

AirForce Talon SS - Part 2

by Tex Force

We began our look at the Talon SS last week. We learned that this American-made air rifle is modular, has interchangable barrels (and calibers), air tanks and adjustable power. We also learned that it comes with a one-hour instructional video telling you how to set up the rifle, maintain it, scope it and of course fill it with air. But, that's not all this amazing air rifle has to offer. This week, we'll look at the rest.

Accessory mounting points
With other air rifles, every accessory is it's own challenge of mounting and using. The Talon SS turns that around. It has more accessory mounting points than any five other air rifles combined! Almost the entire top of the rifle and everything in front of the forearm is an 11mm dovetail that accepts standard airgun accessories. AirForce has more accessories in their lineup for this one rifle than any other airgun model I can think of. The scope is necessary, but if you like open sights, they also offer fiber optic sights with a huge range of adjustability. A bipod is the No. 1 accessory picked after a scope because it turns the rifle into such a stable shooting platform without adding a lot of weight.

After that, you can choose from quick-detachable sling swivel studs, a thumbhole accessory bar, spare tanks, MicroMeter tank, three different barrel lengths in two calibers, a trirail scope base that adds another 18" of accessory mounting space, two very high-quality scopes and on and on....In fact, AirForce is the only manufacturer with its own accessory section here on the Compasseco website. They have the accessories well taken care of.

Another good feature of all AirForce airguns is that whenever a new product becomes available, they try to make it fit existing guns. For instance, owners who bought a Talon four years ago can attach a MicroMeter tank today. Other airgun makers try to make their older guns obsolete after time, but this company is interested in the long haul, which is why they offer the original owner of the gun a limited lifetime warranty. Everything except wearout items (seals and O-rings) is covered.

The SS is the quiet precharged air rifle
One big detractor to precharged airguns is the noise. They are much louder than spring guns because they use more air. The Talon SS fixes that. It was designed with the barrel entirely enclosed inside the frame, so the energetic muzzle blast gets stripped away before exiting the end cap. The pellet carries up to 25 foot-pounds of energy, but the rifle sounds like a magnum spring rifle that only gets about 18! The design is completely legal, which is why thousands are sold every year all over the world. Exterminators love them because they make so little noise when used inside a structure.

Although they cost less than European air rifles, all AirForce air rifles have Lothar Walther barrels, a company well-known for making some of the finest airgun barrels in the business, and it shows every time you shoot one at distance. We talk a lot about shots at 50 yards. If you've never tried it, it's pretty far. Most low-priced .22 rimfires will only group about 1.5" with the best ammo at that range. AirForce doesn't publish accuracy claims, but it's fair to say that all of their rifles will group 1" or better at 50 yards on a calm day. I have gotten my share of groups smaller than that with my SS, but there's a little bit of luck involved with that. However, the more you shoot the luckier you'll be.

Well, that's the story on an amazing air rifle. Of course, the Talon and Condor models have many of the same attributes, but always remember that the SS is the quiet one!

Monday, October 30, 2006

AirForce Talon SS - Part 1

by Tex Force

AirForce Talon SS is a powerful precharged air rifle with more features than any other rifle. Shown here with optional scope and bipod.

With the holidays coming, many of you are thinking about that next big airgun. Perhaps, some have thought about getting into precharged guns. There has never been a better time, and one of the best rifles is made here in the U.S. I'm talking about the AirForce Talon SS.

The Talon SS has too many features for me to cover in a single blog, so this will just be the first part. When it was invented in 2001, there wasn't another air rifle like it. Although its looks have been copied, there still isn't another air rifle with its performance.

A lightweight classic!
The Talon SS weighs just 5.25 lbs., yet it is more powerful than most magnum spring-piston air rifles. It is made of aircraft aluminum and steel and has a distinctive tactical look. The air reservoir is also the butt, and it unscrews to make a portable rifle package under 28" long - even with a large scope! The rifle is finished in a beautiful matte black that doesn't reflect any light, which is one reason America's exterminators and the U.S. Department of Agriculture use it to eliminate pests. Another reason is adjustable power.

Adjustable power
A convenient thumbwheel on the left side of the receiver lets you adjust the power up for hunting or down for shooting targets, plinking or for those tight shots at pests inside buildings. Before the Talon SS came on the scene, very few air rifles had adjustable power, but now they almost have to in order to be competitive.

The power adjustment wheel makes it easy to change power. Dial it down for indoors or targets, up for hunting.

Before we look at the rifle some more, let's discuss the No. 1 reason that holds shooters back from precharged guns: concern about the technology. That's why every AirForce rifle comes with a one-hour DVD describing the entire operation and maintenance and tips, such as how to mount a scope and sight-in. It's more than the owner's manual set to video - it's an education in precharged operations. And, it comes free with every AirForce gun. No other airgun maker in the world offers a video about their gun! If you buy just the video (under $10), you can look the gun over to see if it's something you want to get into. It's a heck of a good way to shop for airguns.

All AirForce air rifles are designed as modules. What that means is that owners can make some changes and modifications to their guns without sending them anywhere. Take calibers, for instance. Let's say you bought a Talon SS in .22 caliber (the No. 1 seller), but now you'd also like to have a .177. All you have to do is buy an optional 12" .177 barrel for under $100 and put it in yourself. It takes about five minutes to change calibers this way. But, there's more! Let's say you want a more powerful rifle than the .22 SS. It produces 25 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, but what it you want 40 foot-pounds? All you have to do is install an optional 24-inch .22-caliber barrel (in just five minutes), and your rifle will produce up to 45 foot-pounds. Just by swapping barrels! Even that's not where the modularity payoff ends.

Micro Meter tank
This year, AirForce came out with the Micro Meter tank. It's identical to the standard tank that fits Talons and Talon SS guns and the Condor tank. It can be used on any of the the three models. What this tank does is make it possible to shoot with very controlled power at low velocity. It's perfect for shooting indoors and for eliminating tiny pests, such as birds inside buildings, where over-penetration can damage the building. For just the cost of a spare air tank, you get an entirely different air rifle. That's what AirForce has done with modularity!

We're just getting started with the features of the Talon SS, so come back next week and see the rest!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Daisy's Avanti 853 Legend

by Tex Force

Daisy's 853 is the perennial favorite target rifle for NRA youth competition. The inset shows the three butt spacers that allow the rifle to grow with the shooter.

With the holidays coming, many shooters are thinking about that big gift they want. If you like to shoot targets with the best accuracy possible, Daisy's Avanti 853 Legend is a rifle you should think about.

A classic!
The 853 has been around for decades. It's a true classic, and the No. 1 choice of over 700,000 junior shooters enrolled in NRA shooting programs each year. Clubs and individual shooters all over America have been using this rifle to set records. Despite the relatively low price, the 853 is deadly accurate!

Two models: a single-shot and a repeater
The 853 is a single-shot rifle, which is what you must use in all formal competitions. There is also a more expensive 853C 5-shot repeater. To make it meet the regulations, the C model can also be used as a single-shot. But the basic 853 is the model most competitors choose, and it's the one that Compasseco sells.

A single-stroke pneumatic
This rifle is a single-stroke pneumatic. It's pumped one time to make it ready to shoot. A second pump does nothing. The pump stroke takes about 20 lbs. of effort, which years of competition have demonstrated is about right for children 12 and older. Younger kids may find it too difficult to operate. The pump lever is plastic, which turns shooters off. In my 20-year experience with 853s, I have never known of a single lever that broke through normal use. Shooters have to keep the pump head oiled to maintain compression. A drop of 20-weight non-detergent motor oil (Daisy's recommendation) or Crosman Pellgunoil (what everyone really uses) on the pump head every six months keeps the rifle shooting strong.

The rifle is cocked by pulling back on the bolt handle. A single target pellet, such as the RWS R-10 target wadcutter, is laid in the loading trough, and the bolt is pushed closed. For target use, only wadcutter pellets are used because they cut a perfectly round hole in target paper. That makes scoring easier. Nothing but wadcutters can be used in competition. If you just want to practice, a less expensive pellet is the Gamo Match wadcutter. It's plenty accurate for basement shooting, and it costs a lot less than formal target ammo.

The trigger takes some getting used to
The trigger on the 853 is one of its shortcomings, being both heavy and creepy - two things you don't want in a target trigger. With use, it wears a point, but it never becomes a fine trigger. Still, there are hundreds of thousands of kids setting records every year with the 853, so it can't be that difficult to learn!

Barrel and stock
Daisy uses a fine Lothar Walther barrel for the 853. This company makes airgun barrels that are as fine as any in the world. Most guns that have them cost about twice what the 853 costs. Such a barrel gives you a rifle capable of hitting the period at the end of this sentence from 33 feet away. The 853 stock is hardwood and adjustable for different sizes of shooters. There are plenty of adults who own these fine rifles, as well as kids, as the stock comes with butt inserts to make it adapt to shooters of all sizes.

This is not a powerful air rifle, so the construction is robust enough to last for a very long time. Daisy uses common O-rings everywhere. When the time does come for a rebuild (club guns get rebuilt every 50,000 to 100,000 shots), you won't have many special parts to buy. Most shooters don't shoot more than 3,000 shots in a lifetime; but, with a rifle like the 853, it's easy for a dedicated shooter to put 5,000 shots a year through the gun. It will still be a decade or more of hard shooting before your gun requires any attention. When it does, the parts won't be difficult to find.

An 853 is not cheap; but, with the holidays coming, now may be the right time for target shooters to announce their favorite gift this year.