Pneumatic Pnews

Monday, November 28, 2005

RWS 34 - a classic spring-piston air rifle

by Tex Force

RWS 34 is an attractive entry into the world of adult air rifles.

With Christmas coming, you may be wondering which rifle to ask for. If you're finally ready to move up into the adult airgun world, it's hard to pick a better beginning than the very popular RWS model 34 (fourth gun down on the page). Today, I'd like to tell you more about this wonderful spring rifle.

It cocks by breaking the barrel!
The model 34 is called a breakbarrel rifle. That means the action of breaking the barrel down and pivoting it as far as it will go cocks the powerful mainspring. Then, you load a pellet into the breech, close the barrel and get ready to shoot. Just before you take the shot, release the automatic safety and squeeze the trigger.

Spring rifles need a break-in
At first, a 34 will seem stiff and jerky to you. It will also seem hard to cock, and the trigger won't seem as nice as it should. That is completely normal. A spring rifle needs about 1,000 shots before it starts to smooth out. Some rifles are less harsh in the beginning, but all spring rifles need a break-in period. The RWS 34 is especially well-made, and it will break-in to become a wonderful shooting companion if you give it a chance.

For break-in, I recommend that you shoot heavy pellets such as Gamo Hunter or Gamo Magnum pellets (first and second on the page). I personally like the Hunter pellets better for their round nose, but either pellet is a good one for break-in. And, you may discover that they shoot so well that you want to keep shooting them after your rifle is broken in. They come 250 to a tin, so better order several at a time!

A 3-step plan to maintain your spring gun
1. Your rifle is well-lubricated from the factory. You don't usually have to lube it for the first year, unless you shoot more than 5,000 shots. Use RWS Chamber Lube (third listing from the top). Use the lube sparingly - it takes just a drop or two!

2. Barrel cleaning is generally not needed - BUT, you do need a cleaning kit! A spring rifle doesn't get dirty from shooting, so the normal cleaning you do after shooting a firearm isn't necessary. However, when accuracy falls off, cleaning with a brass brush can restore it. I will post more about this in the future. Also, if you get a pellet stuck in the barrel, a cleaning rod is the best way to push it out. I like the Gamo cleaning kit, but be sure to also buy a brass brush in the same caliber as your rifle.

3. Clean the outside of your gun before putting it away. The last thing to do is wipe it down all over with a silicone gun cloth like the one Beeman sells (second item down on the page).

Should you get a scope?
The decision to mount a scope on an air rifle is personal, but you should know that using a scope increases your sighting precision - and your accuracy. Compasseco has a rifle and scope combo on sale right now, so this might be the best time to get one, if you think you want one.

The trigger, and why you should actually READ the owner's manual!
RWS triggers can be adjusted very sweet - BUT they don't adjust the way you think! You MUST READ THE OWNER'S MANUAL to learn how to adjust the trigger. I spent 20 years annoyed at the triggers of my RWS rifles, only to discover the screws I had been turning didn't do what I thought they did! Bummer! I don't want you to make the same mistake, so read that manual!

The RWS model 34 can be a wonderful first adult airgun - or it can be a big mistake! The things I've told you today are all you need to know to have a wonderful experience with this gun. Give it a try. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Daisy's 22 SG: a hunter's delight!

by Tex Force

We all talk about a gun that we leave in the corner, ready to dispatch a varmint at a moment's notice. Truthfully, most of our airguns are so expensive and beautiful that nobody really does that. Even a Sheridan pump costs the better part of $150, and no one in their right mind is going to leave a gun like that lying around. But, have you ever considered the Daisy 22SG?

The what?
For under $90, Daisy makes a fine .22 caliber multi-pump with enough power to drop squirrels and rabbits - and the accuracy to make it happen. It's easy to pump, compared to most guns, yet it has all the power you need if the shots are at a reasonable distance.

Yeah - but what do you get for less than $90?
For starters, you get a hardwood stock and forearm! That's right, both the buttstock and forearm are made of the same solid hardwood that comes on air rifle costing hundreds of dollars more. Then there's the metal receiver and steel barrel! Yes, Daisy listened to all the complaints about too much plastic on airguns, and they did something about it.

There is some plastic on this rifle. The bolt handle, triggerguard and pump lever are plastic, but don't worry about breaking them. I doubt you ever will. The way the gun is made, the parts are much stronger than they need to be. And, they help make the gun the rugged, stand-in-the-corner gun that it is. The only thing you have to remember is to occasionally oil the pump head with some good silicone oil such as Crosman Pellgunoil - but you have to do that with any multi-pump!

Best of all - it's a .22!
Yes, this is a real .22 pellet rifle, so hunting is its primary purpose. Muzzle velocity is in the 550 f.p.s. region, which is plenty of steam for cottontail-sized game at 25 yards or less, assuming a good hit.

AND - there's a scope!
Yes, for less than $90, they throw in a 4x scope. It's a fixed 4x with a 32mm objective, which means a very bright image of your target. The duplex reticle is the most favored for hunting and general target practice. The click adjustments are 1/4 minute, which means each click of the adjustment knob moves the strike of the pellet by 1/4" at 100 yards. At 10 yards, the movement would be 1/10 as far, so 10 clicks move the pellet 1/4". The scope rings are also included in the package, so there is nothing more to buy but pellets!

The rifle also has fine open sights. The front sight has a red TruGlo fiber optic dot, while the rear sight is a standard notch. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation.

What about pellets?
For hunting, use RWS Super-H-Points (3rd from bottom). A recent article in Shotgun News showed this to be one of the best hollowpoint pellets available - and the test was done with a 22SG! For general shooting or hunting, try Gamo Hunter pellets. They're budget-priced and very high quality. Remember to buy .22 caliber pellets!

I know there are fancier pellet rifles than the Daisy 22SG, but I doubt there's a better buy on the market. Whether you just want to get into airgunning on a budget or you want a rifle you really can leave behind the door for shooting opportunities, this one is a real solid shooting value!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Tech Force airgun scopes - part 2

by Tex Force

We're still talking about Tech Force scopes this week. I'd like to look at some of the more powerful scopes, plus hit some points we missed last week.

One-inch tubes light the way!
All light that passes through a scope is subject to a small amount of absorption. No scope can ENHANCE light unless it is electronic. What you see through the scope will look brighter because it is magnified, but a tiny amount of light will actually be lost. How much loss is determined by the size of the lenses, the number of lenses and the lens coatings.

Tech Force scopes have one-inch tubes that allow a large amount of light to pass through and allow larger lenses to be installed. There are less expensive scopes, often touted as rimfire and airgun scopes, but their 7/8" or 3/4" scope tubes have smaller lenses and are not as bright. An example of one of these inexpensive scopes is the Tech Force .22 Cal. and Low-Power Airgun Scope (fourth scope down on the page). These are good for non-recoiling guns, but they are not as useful as the scopes with one-inch tubes I covered in last week's post.

What about more power?
A more powerful scope lets you see smaller or more distant targets, but it is also more difficult to control. As the power increases, every movement of your body is magnified by the scope. Even the beat of your heart can move you off target when the magnification is really cranked up. For that reason, powerful scopes usually have a broad range of power, so the shooter can dial down when he needs to see the target better.

Also, as the power increases, the field of view decreases. You may be able to see an ant crawling on a blade of grass, but determining WHICH blade of grass might be the challenge! A 4-16x scope is closer to ideal for general shooting than an 8-32x, so consider that when making your decision. Tech Force Target/Hunting scopes (2nd down on the page) are packed with features like sunshades and 10-yard focus to give you the flexibility you need and the high magnification you want.

What about the 6-24x and 8-32x scopes?
These are specialized scopes for hunters and long-range target shooters. Those who shoot the sport of field target often choose them. You already know that powerful scopes like these can give you a splendid closeup view of your target, but they are also useful for extremely fine rangefinding! When the power is cranked all the way up to 32 magnifications, the view through the scope is so good that you can focus to a very fine resolution at long distances. In other words, you can determine ranges at 50 yards with the same accuracy that a 16x scope will have at 25 yards. If you are careful, you can be accurate within a yard or less!.

Good scopes deserve good rings
You need scope rings to attach a scope to an airgun. If you are going to buy a good scope, I recommend B-Square Air-Match scope rings (4th item from the bottom of the page) because they are wider and support the scope tube better. They have four screws for each ring cap instead of two. When they clamp down on the scope tube, the pressure is spread over twice the area. If you pay more for a quality scope, it's better to protect it with quality rings. They don't cost much more, and this is the best set for the money. Be sure to buy rings with the recommended height for the objective bell of the scope you're mounting. For example, the 8-32x scope has a 50mm objective and needs the high version of these rings.

Do you need a scope stop?
A scope stop prevents the scope from slipping under recoil. You need one with most spring guns but not with pneumatics or gas guns. The stop projects below the scope ring or base into a hole or groove on top of the air rifle receiver. The B-Square mounts I recommended come with an adjustable stop pin that can be removed if you don't need it. While some airguns such as the Tech Force 97 (second gun down) and Tech Force 99 Magnum (third gun down) come with recoil stops built in, many guns - like the Beeman R9 (third gun down) - just have a hole for the pin in their receiver and need the scope stop pin that comes with better scope rings.

I hope these two postings have helped you understand scopes better. If you have any other questions, please send me a comment by clicking on the word "comments" at the bottom of any posting.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Tech Force airgun scopes - part 1

by Tex Force

Many shooters mount scopes on their air rifles these days, and Compasseco has been an innovator when it comes to airgun optics. In a future post I'll deal with dot sights, but today I want to talk about Tech Force scopes.

Tech Force was a pioneer in rugged airgun scopes
You probably know what a strain a powerful spring rifle puts on the optics of a scope. Airgun scopes have to be specially braced to absorb this recoil and vibration. Tech Force was bracing its scopes long before the major American scope manufacturers got on board, and they're still recognized as rugged optics.

Bright, clear optics!
The description on the Compasseco website tells you that Tech Force scopes are made in the same factory as BSA scopes. What they don't mention (but I will) is that Tech Force scopes are usually BRIGHTER and clearer than BSA scopes with equivalent features (power, lens size, etc.). In the optics field, you get what you pay for, and Tech Force pays extra to get upgraded lenses and coatings to improve visibility. All you have to do is compare a Tech Force scope to another brand to find that the Tech Force scope is just as bright, if not brighter than most of the competition.

"Buy" the numbers!
Let's cut to the chase. Looking at Compasseco's site, you see a lot of scopes. Which one is right for you? Here's my recommendation - unless you have a specific reason to choose a different scope, either theTF 2-7x32mm or the TF 3-12x44mm scope (5th group down on the page) will be perfect! Both are extra-bright and the big differences are magnification, size, weight and price. If you can afford it, I'd go with the larger 3-12 scope, because, just like money, a shooter can usually use more.

Here's what the scope numbers mean
Here is what all those scope model numbers mean. The "2-7" figures mean this scope has variable power from 2x (target looks twice as large as it does with no scope) to 7x. The 32mm refers to the size of the lens at the object or target end of the scope (called the objective bell). The larger the lens, the more light can pass through the scope, making the target appear brighter. If the lens gets too large, it bumps against the rifle it's mounted on, and you have to use very high scope rings to clear the gun. That can be awkward when you have to look through the scope.

Parallax adjustment
Good airgun scopes also have parallax adjustments to keep the crosshairs from moving against the target at a given range. All you do is rotate the knob or bell until the image looks sharp in the scope and the parallax is adjusted for the distance to whatever you focused on. A real airgun scope adjusts as close as 10 yards or closer, and the two scopes I have recommended both focus to 7.5 yards, which is 22.5 feet. That is REALLY close, but if you want to shoot even closer, just dial the power as low as it will go and the target will appear clear as close as 10 feet! That's real flexibility that you won't find in firearms scopes.

I have more to say about scopes, and I'll say it next Monday. Until then, you might take what I've suggested and look around Compasseco's site to compare scopes for yourself.