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31 December, 2009

What diameter is my QB78 family air rifle barrel?

Lots of people as us for clarification about the barrel diameters of QB78 family air rifles - so here's the scoop!

14 mm diameter barrels are found on the QB78 (basic version, NOT the QB78 Deluxe with "gold" effect bolt handle and trigger blade) and the CAR78a carbine version that we sell.

All the other models use a 15mm diameter barrel. This includes the QB78 Deluxe, QB79, AR2078, AR2078A and AR2079A models.

I made precise measurements of 10 units of each diameter barrel - taken at random from our inventory. The 14mm barrels ranged between 14.08mm and 14.17mm outside diameter, so they run a little on the high side.

The 15mm barrels measured gave a low of 14.87mm and a high of 15.02mm, so they seem to run a little under nominal on average.


23 December, 2009

The Top Ten Airgun Safety Tips

For all those new air rifle shooters - maybe with an airgun as a Christmas present - here's our "Top Ten" airgun safety tips. This is not all you need to do to be safe, but our list covers many of the critical disciplines that prevent potentially dangerous shooting accidents.

1. Remember air rifles can be dangerous - always treat them with respect.
2. Always assume any gun is loaded and “live” until proven otherwise.

3. Don’t load the rifle until you’re ready to fire.
4. Never touch the trigger until you have the target in sight.
5. Think before you shoot. Don’t shoot unless you know what will be hit if you miss the target - and we ALL miss sometimes...

6. If in doubt - don't fire!

7. Never touch any airgun if someone is in front of you.
8. Never walk in front of anyone holding any gun.
9. Never point any gun at anyone - even if it’s unloaded.
10. Don’t distract or talk to anyone when they’re shooting.

"Have fun, but shoot safe".


20 December, 2009

Leapers Red Dot Sight Torture Test

One of the unsung heroes of Archer Airguns is our Leapers Red/Green Dot Sight.

Why? Well we've used this sight in the vast majority of our Gold Service air rifle tests for about 3 years, multiple times every day - and it's battered but still working!

This Leapers red dot sight - model SCP-RD30RGDL - has survived under the same conditions that caused two previous red dot sights from different manufacturers to fail within 3 months. These other red dot sights both failed with non-functioning turret mechanisms.

For our Gold Service testing, we're constantly sighting-in this sight, cranking the elevation and windage turrets back and forth mercilessly. And although the external parts of the turrets (at least) are made of plastic, they've survived this torture-testing without problems.

The sight comes complete with its own mount. This also has survived literally thousands of mounting and dis-mounting operations - you can see the "collateral damage" from this in the photo below. Again, I had one other manufacturer's red dot sight fail with stripped mounting screw threads after a short time - not so with this Leapers model!

And the other surprise is how long the batteries last in use. I can't remember the last time I changed them, but it's probably only about once a year, which is waaaaaaaaaaaay better than anything I hoped for.

So do I like this Leapers Red/Green dot sight? You bet! Apart from its durability, it's easy to use, has a sharp, clear image and unlimited eye relief.


05 December, 2009

Which air rifle is best, the Crosman 2260 or QB78?

Which is better, the Crosman 2260 or the QB78?

I've lost count of the number of times we've been asked this question. Both air rifles have their own benefits and league of supporters. Personally, I don't like the Crosman 2260's completely plastic, non-adjustable trigger - compared to the QB78's metal, 3-way adjustable trigger. And again, I prefer the heftier, steel breech and bolt of the QB78 (complete with scope rails) compared to the plastic breech of the 2260 and the requirement for "intermounts" to fit a scope to the thing.

But let's concentrate on something we can measure - for one objective comparison.

The Crosman 2260 uses one 12g Powerlet at a time for propulsion. The QB78 accepts two. So, the QB78 holds twice the amount of CO2 gas. This means that the QB78 makes around twice as many shots per fill as the Crosman 2260. The graph shown here charts muzzle velocities of these two air rifles. The 2260 is in red, the QB78 in green. Both guns are in .22 caliber, unmodified from factory condition.

As you can see, the 2260 started with a higher muzzle velocity than the the QB78 in this test. But this advantage didn't last for long.

Between shots 15 and 28 , the two guns hold muzzle velocities that are very close to each other, but after that the 2260's muzzle velocity collapses completely and rapidly. Its point of impact drops significantly after about shot 30 due to the rapidly decreasing muzzle velocity and the shooter is into "mortaring" mode if he or she elects to continue firing.

As the QB78 hold twice as much gas, its muzzle velocity doesn't begin to seriously degrade until after shot 53. And then the rate of decline in muzzle velocity - and thus the change in point of impact - is much less great shot-to-shot. It's a more manageable decline for the shooter and the plinker may not even notice it until after about shot 60.

So which is better in using gas, the Crosman 2260 or the QB78?

Well, it depends!

If you prefer the slightly higher muzzle velocity of the 2260, it wins. But only if you're prepared to gas-up again after 30 shots and accept its somewhat inconsistent muzzle velocity performance.

If you want consistent muzzle velocity over a much larger number of shots, the QB78 wins. (This translates into better vertical accuracy). It's shot-to-shot muzzle velocity is clearly more consistent than the 2260 - the gun tested hovered between 500 and 520fps for 50 shots. This makes it the plinker's choice. Oh, and did I mention the QB78 has a better trigger, hefty steel breech, provides a much more stable scope mounting platform and is generally more durably built?

What's your opinion?


22 November, 2009

More on QB78 Family Main Tube and Tube Cap Lengths

In order to know if your QB78-family air rifle has a short or long Main Tube, you need to measure it. Length of the old, short main tubes is about 14 7/8-inches, length of the new, longer tubes is about 15 3/8-inches. (They're actually made to metric measurements, of course). Long tubes will only work with long tube caps, short ones with short tube caps, due to the fixed length of Powerlets. All other parts are the same.

I spoke to the factory folk about this change when I was in Shanghai, recently. They developed the modification to make it easier to change the tube cap O ring. It applies to all Powerlet-driven QB78 family models, including the AR2078 and AR2078A.

Here's a photo of the old and new Tube Caps.

But some long tubes do not have the gas release hole at the threaded end of the tube - this can cause the tube cap to fly off of the gun if there's residual gas pressure when removing. This is not usually a problem if you know about it, but be aware! I was assured that all future production will include this gas relief hole.

As with most production changes in most factories where the old part is not defective in design, the change from short to long tubes/caps was cut in over time. For example, the most recent cases of guns that arrived with us last month have mostly long tubes, but some - in the same case and number sequence - have short tubes. So, the serial numbers I've posted for the change (08686XXX) should be seen as a guide to about where it began. Measurement is the only sure way to know.

This post amplifies some information posted earlier about the short and long tube caps that match these tube lengths.


07 November, 2009

Duct Seal - The Ideal Pellet Trap Material

Duct Seal is the ideal material to use in airgun pellet traps. It is cheap, long-lasting, effective and quiet. That's why we specify and supply it for the Archer Airguns "Silent" Pellet Traps.

But sometimes folk are not readily convinced and ask for proof of it's ability for pellet trap use.

So, here's a photograph of a test I made. It shows the penetration of a heavy (14.5 Grain), pointed RWS Superpoint pellet, fired "point blank" (from 6 inches) into a 1-inch thick block of Duct Seal. The pellet was fired by a QB36-2 air rifle at 800 fps, the muzzle energy being approximately 20 ft/lbs.

As you can see, the pellet penetrated just under 7/8-inch into the Duct Seal. To allow for the effect of multiple impacts, we recommend depths of Duct Seal in our "Silent" Pellet Traps as follows:

For .177 wadcutters Muzzle Velocity Duct Seal Depth
500fps 1 inch
900fps 2 inches
1200fps 4 inches
Add 50% to all depths for pointed pellets

For .22 wadcutters Muzzle Velocity Duct Seal Depth
500fps 1 inch
700fps 2 inches
1000 fps 4 inches
Add 50% to all depths for pointed pellets

And, if that's not good enough for you, we also offer 3/8-inch sheet steel plates to put behind the Duct Seal as a final insurance policy against penetration by pellets.

Our second photograph shows my long-serving Premium "Silent" Pellet Trap, used for Gold Service tests on air rifles. As you can see, the DuctSeal shows impacts from many pellets - this is still the same Duct Seal I've been using for over 5 years! Also you can see how target debris and spent pellets collect in the base of the trap, instead of bouncing out, as they tend to do with other pellet traps.


06 November, 2009

The Leapers Tactical Rail Adapter - A Very Uesful Item.

The Leapers Tactical Rail Adapter is a versatile accessory for many air rifles. It clamps to standard airgun rails and allows Weaver mount scopes and sights to be fitted securely. It's also an ideal way to increase the scope rail length found on some Chinese air rifles, providing a 4-inch Weaver rail and allowing for better scope positioning.

Here is is on a QB78 breech.

And here it is in use on my customised QB57.


05 November, 2009

It's Seasonal Sale Time at Archer Airguns!

If you haven't visited our retail web store yet, now is a good time to do so. There's a wide range of sale bargains available in all parts of the site.

Have fun :-)


15 October, 2009

A Quick Performance Test of the New QB58 Air Rifle

Here's the results of a brief "real world" performance test of the new QB58 air rifle. This gun is very similar mechanically to the QB57, but the QB58 in a fixed stock format instead of the "take down" and bullpup configuration of the QB57.

I pulled 3 QB58s of each caliber out of the rack - making no selection - and measured the muzzle velocities and weights of each.

The .22 caliber QB58s are all quite dry - much like the QB36-2s I tested a few days ago (see the following post). The .177s, however, had much more oil on them from manufacture and there was a fair amount of dieseling. The muzzle velocities should be understood in that light. As before, these are obviously not "broken in" numbers.

In .22 caliber the QB58s ran an average of close to 600fps with "The Peak" wadcutters. Maximum muzzle velocity recorded was 609fps, minimum was 576fps. At 13.86 Grains weight and an average muzzle velocity of 600fps, this makes the muzzle energy around 11 ft/lbs. The manufacturer's official spec for the QB58 is 580fps, so these guns were performing fairly well above that claim.

As the.177 caliber models were dieseling, there was a greater spread of muzzle velocities. The maximum recorded individual shot was 792fps, the slowest came in at 669fps. Average muzzle velocity would be in the 730 fps range with "The Peak" wadcutters pellets. At 8.6 Grains average weight, the muzzle energy is around 9.5 ft/lbs. The factory spec is 750 fps, so this time the manufacturer's numbers may be a little optimistic, but probably not by very much.

As for weights, the .22s came in between 7lbs 2 oz and 7 lbs 4oz each. The .177s were in the range from 7 lbs 6 oz to 7lbs 7oz.

So, that's what I'm finding with these new QB58s. The finish looks good, cocking is not too heavy, the anti-beartrap features seem to work well and the triggers and safeties worked fine. Although I was not specifically shooting for accuracy, the groups on my test target suggest that the QB58 is accurate and not particularly hold-sensitive, either.

As with the QB36-2s I reviewed a few days ago, I'd say these are fine air rifles for the modest price being asked.


13 October, 2009

Quick Test of the New QB36-2 Air Rifle

In order to answer a question on the Chinese Airgun Forum, I pulled 3 QB36-2s of each caliber out of the rack - making no selection - and measured the muzzle velocities and weights of each. As the results are quite interesting, they seemed worth posting here, too :-)

The guns are new (of course!) but were not dieseling much. I'd rate them as quite dry compared to most Shanghai springers I test. The muzzle velocities should, of course, be understood in that light. These are obviously not "broken in" numbers. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised at the consistency of muzzle velocities (only about +/- 20fps between highest and lowest in each caliber for 5 shots through each gun), this tends to confirm my thought that there's not much dieseling happening here.

The .22 caliber guns ran an average of 750fps with RWS Superpoints. At 14.5 Grains weight, this makes the muzzle energy just over 18 ft/lbs. The manufacturer's official spec is 675fps, so these guns were performing fairly well above that claim.

In .177 caliber, the average muzzle velocity was 990 fps with "The Peak" pointed pellets. At 8.05 Grains average weight, the muzzle energy is around 17.5 ft/lbs. The spec here is 900 fps, so again the manufacturer's numbers are handily beaten.

And for actual weights of the guns...

The .22s came in between 8lbs 8 oz and 8 lbs 11oz each. The .177s (always heavier because there's more metal left in the barrels) were in the range from 8 lbs 12 oz to 8lbs 15oz. The difference in weights between apparently identical guns is due to the stocks - presumably the density of the wood used.

So, that's what I'm finding with these new QB36-2s. The finish looks good, cocking is surprisingly light and the triggers (except on one of the .177s) were much lighter than I expected, too. I didn't measure trigger pull weights, neither did I shoot for accuracy: not enough time!


09 October, 2009

How to use Just one Powerlet in a QB78

QB78 family air rifles are designed to be used with two x 12 Powerlets at one time. But what if you want a short shooting session (up to 20 - 25 shots) and just want to load one?

The answer to this is quite simple. Load one "live" Powerlet into the gun and then put an empty Powerlet in, too, facing towards the front. Tighten the tube cap as usual and the gun will fire just as normal but with only one Powerlet's worth of gas.

OK, we're actually using two Powerlets in the gun like this, but only one is full of gas and this is what people often actually want to do. I hope this simple trick is useful!


02 October, 2009

More About Our Visit to the Shanghai Airgun Factory

Many people have asked for more photos about the Shanghai Airguns Factory, so here’s a second part to our factory visit report...

Here's the Testing Department - Test Range is at the back of the room.

Above - It's me again (at left).

Along with improved product quality, there’s a focus on marketing, with “Industry Brand” being retained for existing products - such as the QB78 family - but with newer, more up-scale models being given a new “SAG” (Shanghai Airgun Factory) brand.

Below, another assembly area.

And as everyone knows, much can be known about people’s real interests from the desktop and/or screen saver that they have on their computer. Well, the VP of Product Development has a very interesting screen saver. It’s a photograph of a heavily tricked-out M16 with every known accessory loaded on it. This gentlemen is obviously really interested in guns and that has to be good for us as they introduce new airguns in future!

The current factory is one third larger than the previous one, which was located much closer to the city center - in Pudong. The factory move took place in 2007 as the area in which it was located is being re-developed as the home for the Shanghai “Expo 2010”, a HUGE international exhibition that is expected to generate 70 million visitors flocking to Shanghai. You can read more about Expo 2010 at

Below: modern Pudong, in Downtown Shanghai. The Head Office is near here.


27 September, 2009

Our Visit to Shanghai Airgun Factory

During our vacation in China, Cornelia and I visited the Shanghai Airgun Factory. There we met the company President, the VPs of Sales and Development and were shown the operation very openly.

The factory is about 30 miles outside Shanghai and comprises three buildings: there’s an office block, a manufacturing building and a warehouse. About 400 people work there and the factory is running at capacity in spite of the recession. There’s also head office building Downtown in Pudong (a part of the city).

This is a general view of the facility.

The manufacturing building is the most interesting, of course. It’s about 100 yards x 20 yards in size (at a guess) with four floors. The ground floor is full of lathes and mills, all busily churning out gun parts from steel bar or tube. There’s also multiple barrel-making machines and a very large blueing tank area.

Here's an assembly area.

The floors above accommodate assembly and testing areas. Here you can see carts full of guns in various states of assembly. Most of the guns being built during our visit were springers: QB36-1 and QB36-2 models and also plenty of B3s. There’s also a pellet-making facility with multiple new pellet-making machines chunking out pellets from lead strips.

Racks of guns awaiting testing.

Until 1997, the factory was owned by the Chinese government, but then it was sold to the employees. Both staff and management now have shareholdings in the company and benefit from its success - this is clearly a strong motivator behind the great improvements in product quality that have been made in recent years. The factory is clean, the employees seem happy and proud of what they do. There are even clean restrooms - a considerable rarity in China but, I think, symptomatic of the attitude in the company.

Here I am meeting with the VP of Sales and VP of Product Development.

Shanghai Airguns runs very much like a company in the US. New product design uses CAD extensively and computer systems monitor the business. This is clearly NOT a “Third World” sweatshop but a sophisticated modern facility determined on expansion.

Shanghai itself is a huge, bustling city with an excellent public transport system and terrible traffic congestion. Here you can still see the old China, but it’s rapidly being swamped by ultra-modern buildings and a Western way of life.

I hope you enjoyed this report!


22 August, 2009

Which QB78 Parts Fit My Crosman 160?

We're often asked this question here at Archer Airguns!

The answer is that many QB78 parts do, in fact, fit the Crosman 160, and also the Crosman 167, Crosman 180 and Crosman 400 models. We publish a list of individual part compatability at and also list the main parts kits that are available to keep these classic American air rifles in service.

And how to fit them? That's where our QB78 Family Workshop Manual comes in.

This unique 88-page publication gives the information required to make repairs not only to the QB78 family, but also the Crosman 160. The Crosman 167 and 180 models are very similar and can also be repaired using these instructions as a base.

The Crosman 400 is, however, a completely different issue. It's a far more complex air rifle due to the magazine system and we recommend professional repairs for that reason, even though some of the QB78 parts will fit that fine airgun.


16 August, 2009

The AR2095. The Air Rifle That Never Was.

For several years, the Shanghai Airgun Factory had showed a new PCP air rifle on their website, in catalogs and at the SHOT Show. This model - the AR2095 - has never made it to production and has become something of a mythical beast. But there is one example in captivity and we’ll see it in this blog post.

The owner of the Shanghai Airgun Factory sent me a prototype AR2095 back in 2007 and asked for my opinions. I was, of course, happy to help and provided the requested input. Unfortunately it was not too complimentary. Maybe my view was shared as the AR2095 has never made it to production and has now disappeared from the company’s catalog.

I’ve never shared details of this air rifle before, but here it is in public for the first time.

This AR2095 weighs 6lb 13oz without an air tank and has an overall length of 40.5 inches. The pull length is 15 inches.

The side lever breech mechanism is not unusual for Shanghai as they have used this concept before in the rarely-seen AR2078B and AR2079B models. But probably the most contentious feature to me was the removable air tank concept. The idea was good, but it was - in my view - unnecessarily compromised - by trying to make it also “built in” to the gun. I would have preferred either a built-in fixed tank, as the BAM B50 or an entirely separate tank in QB79 style.

What do you think? Should they have introduced this PCP air rifle?


13 August, 2009

QB57 Performance Review. Part 2 - Accuracy and trigger Pull

This is my own cutomised QB78, with a re-finished and extended stock, muzzle brake and other modifications.

Here’s some more, never previously published, “hard data” on the performance of the QB57 air rifle from Shanghai Airguns. It’s derived directly from Archer Airguns “Gold Service” testing of these guns and summarises results from a large number of tested guns.

Part 1 covered muzzle velocity testing. In this second part we’ll cover accuracy and trigger pull results.

The factory spec for accuracy is a grouping of 30mm - that’s 1.2 inches - CTC (center to center) at 10m (32 feet) for just 3 shots. This spec is not impressive (in fact it’s terrible), but performance is hugely better in practice. In “Gold Service” testing, we see an average CTC of around 0.6 inches for 10 shots at 10 yards - 2X better than the factory spec - as this chart shows.

This compares very well with the tested accuracy of QB78 family air rifles - it’s about the same CTC as “Gold Service” testing produces with these accurate CO2 guns. And I’m emphatically NOT a good shot with a springer, I just can’t manage a completely consistent hold time-after-time, so good spring rifle shots using pellets the gun “likes” will undoubtedly be able to improve on my accuracy results.

Average accuracy is slightly better for .177s over .22s (just as with the QB78 family), but there’s actually very little in it. It’s too close to call without an even larger population of guns to test. Just give me more time, I’m working on it...

Most of these accuracy results are obtained using a basic Leapers red/green dot scope. Where customers specify our QB57/Leapers Scope Combo, the test results were achieved with that combination. I’ve not differentiated between sighting options in this graph, but you can understand that most of the “tight” groups were sighted with the 4 x 40 scope.

As I measure CTC only to the nearest 1/8-inch, that accounts for the steps in the graph. But, as you can see, here we have an accurate little air rifle!

The QB57 has a long, creepy trigger pull - as you might expect from a cheap bullpup-style air rifle. But it’s actually not that bad and is surprisingly light and consistent. There’s also an adjustment screw, but I never touch that so this data represents completely “stock” trigger performance.

The factory spec provides a very generous range from a maximum pull weight of 5 lbs 10 oz (itself not unusual in a cheap spring-powered air rifle) down to a minimum of 2 lbs 4 oz. But the actual results are much better and are shown in this chart.

The good news is that trigger pull weights are all very close to the minimum factory spec and - as you can see - a reasonable average figure is around 3.0 lbs. Again, a very good performance for such a low cost air rifle. And the trigger is adjustable via a setscrew, so there’s the potential to improve these pull weights beyond the stock factory settings.

So, that’s the QB57! It’s an unique little air rifle and the performance is really very good for such a low cost air rifle. And - being made of real “tree wood” and steel, there’s much potential for tuning and customisation.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this review of the QB57. Try one, you may find it a lot of fun :-)


31 July, 2009

QB 57 Performance Review. Part 1 - Muzzle Velocity and Dieseling.

The QB57 is this interesting take down air rifle from China manufactured by the Shanghai Airgun Factory and sold by Archer Airguns.

I like the QB57 a lot - it’s a fun gun to shoot, unusual-looking and is quite hold-tolerant for a spring air rifle. And although I am the first to agree that the finish and appearance of the QB57 is not among the best, it really shoots well. But how well?

To answer that question, I’ve analysed the results of Archer Airguns “Gold Service” testing for a large number of QB57s and graphed the results for easier understanding. To my knowledge, this blog contains the first comprehensive performance analysis of “hard data” that has ever been published for the QB57. Here’s what I found...

Overall, the QB57 significantly improves on the manufacturer’s specifications and performs very well for an air rifle in this price range.

First things first. Please remember that “Gold Service” testing is performed with heavy, flat-nosed wadcutter pellets, so my results will clearly be slower than for the same gun shooting light, pointed pellets.

Also, I’m always testing new guns. Some of these are “dry” from the factory, while others have their innards liberally coated in oil. (Don’t ask me why, that’s just the way they are). This is important as all spring air rifles that have oil in the compression chamber will tend to “Diesel”. Some of this oil will actually combust due to the pressure of the compressed air in the chamber - the result is increased, but erratic muzzle velocity. We will see the effects of Dieseling clearly in some of the results here.

Let’s get to the results...

Muzzle velocity for the QB57 in .177 caliber is very close to the manufacturer’s claim of 650fps. “Gold Service” testing averages about 620fps - 95% of the manufacturer’s claims: it would probably equal the claimed muzzle velocity with light, pointed pellets.

This graph shows the distribution of muzzle velocities actually recorded on test. The higher velocities - above about 660fps are real and clearly the result of Dieseling.

QB57 muzzle velocity results in .22 caliber suggest that the manufacturers have under-specified this little gun with their claim of only 480fps. As you can see from the graph below, I have recorded muzzle velocities of 700fps on test with Dieseling guns. That’s around 15 ft/lbs of muzzle energy from this little gun. Wow!!!

I would suggest a more realistic muzzle velocity specification in .22 to be about 560fps, that’s 15% above the manufacturer’s claims. Now this is really unusual - an air rifle that actually gives a muzzle velocity greater than is advertised!

So how does Dieseling effect muzzle velocity consistency?

Well, consistency is expressed mathematically as “Standard Deviation”. Basically, a low standard deviation figure is good - it means that the shots are all of a similar muzzle velocity. A high number indicates considerable inconsistency and is, therefore, bad.

As we said, Dieseling effects all spring guns - not just the QB57. But the graph below clearly shows its impact.

“Dry” QB57s have a standard deviation of below about 10 fps in “Gold Service” testing. Compare this to an average for QB78s of around 5 fps. Not bad at all.

But it’s easy to see a sharp jump in the graph - suddenly standard deviations double and then triple very rapidly. This is Dieseling in action and it’s the guns with plenty of oil that do it.

Dieseling declines as the oil burns off - any spring air rifle will dry out with time. This leads to a conclusion that the average standard deviation for a “dry” QB57 is well below 10fps. Let’s say somewhere between 5 and 7 fps. This is very creditable for such a low cost spring air rifle.

But wait, there’s more... and it will be published in Part 2 of this review.


18 July, 2009

The Crosman 760 - a Review

Crosman claims that over 12 million of these little air rifles have been sold during an continuous production run starting in 1964 - that’s well over a quarter a million a year for 45 years - so they must be doing something right with their Crosman 160!

To find out, I did what most people do. I went to Wal-Mart and walked out with one under my arm for the princely sum of $29 plus tax. But then I decided to do what most people don’t : I gave the Crosman 760 an Archer Airguns “Gold Service” test to find out what performance it produces. I also tested it with four different types of pellets to see how pellet sensitive this 760 is.

Crosman claims a muzzle velocity of up to 600 fps with pellets for the 760. I’m here to tell you that my Crosman 760 achieves nothing close to that with lead pellets - it’s more like 500 fps. But using Crosman Silver Eagle lead-free wadcutters, my 760 did manage to average nearly 630 fps.

Amazingly, I’ve never shot a Crosman 760 before, but I here’s what I found...

The gun is overwhelmingly “plastic” to the touch - as most of the parts are made of this material. Personally I don’t like this, but it does make the 760 very light and easy to hold. It’s undoubtedly a big contributor to that sub-$30 price point, too.

Pumping was surprisingly hard and made a loud sound each time the forearm completes its stroke and hits the air tube. This actually seems louder than the sound of the 760 firing! I used 10 pumps for each shot, the maximum recommended by the manufacturer, to achieve the highest muzzle velocity.

I thought the trigger was fine. Mine pulled fairly evenly at about 3.5 pounds. And I had no jams in 50 shots (that’s 10 “warm up” rounds plus four test targets of 10 shots each). Not bad! The factory iron sights are also surprisingly good, although I used a red dot scope for the testing.

The 760 comes in a nice, brightly-printed box and the instructions are in Spanish and English. I can’t read Spanish, but the English instructions didn’t really seen ideal to me, I still needed a little experimentation to learn how to load the pellets into the clip and the clip into the 760, for example.

So how did my 760 shoot? Well, the test targets are below. I simply followed the standard Archer Airguns “Gold Service” test procedure four times with different pellets. Each test was fired with 10 pellets. And each time I called a “flyer” with one pellet that was way out of the main group. You’ll see this below. All the tests were shot using my trusty Leapers red/green dot sight.

First off, the standard Crosman wadcutters. Available everywhere, these shot at an average muzzle velocity of just over 480 fps, giving a muzzle energy of a little over 4 ft/lbs. Don’t hunt any bird or animal with this gun, there’s not enough power for a humane kill in my opinion. Accuracy was OK-ish. Not bad for a sub-$30 gun with an un-rifled barrel.

Next, I tested Crosman Silver Eagle wadcutter pellets. As in every gun I’ve shot these through, the muzzle velocity was excellent - 25% better than with lead pellets. The bad news? That muzzle velocity comes with even less muzzle energy (because of the light weight of the pellets) and abysmal accuracy. I can’t hit the proverbial barn door with these pellets in any air rifle.

Third was the turn of the Chinese “The Peak” pellets that we sell. These produced better accuracy and muzzle energy than the Crosman lead wadcutters, probably because they use a softer lead and have a wider “skirt”. These probably sealed better in the barrel and allowed less air to leak past the pellet than the Crosman wadcutters. They gave the highest muzzle energy at nearly 5 ft/lbs, together with fairly reasonable accuracy.

Finally I tested Crosman Premier Light pellets. These domed pellets are relatively expensive, but wow, what great accuracy! Suddenly the 760 was producing excellent accuracy, vastly better than I expected for this little air rifle. Just look at this test target!

So, the little 760 finally found a pellet it liked, and how!

Overall, I feel that you can’t complain about the Crosman 760 for $29.00. But somewhere around $70 buys a far, far, far better air rifle, such as the QB78 or QB36-1. These guns are all metal and wood and will last a lifetime, they’re more accurate and significantly more powerful, yet still easy to shoot - and they don’t need all that noisy pumping...


09 July, 2009

QB18 or QB20?

This air rifle is an experimental model produced by the Shanghai Airgun Factory and shown at the 2009 SHOT Show. It carries the designation QB18, serial number Y802557, but actually was at the show representing the QB20 model. The difference between the QB18 and the QB20 is really just the stock. The QB18 has a wood stock, the QB20 stock is synthetic.

What makes this particular air rifle unique is that the stock is printed with a prototype camoflage pattern - the QB20 shown in the Shanghai catalogue has a black synthetic stock. It's a "one of a kind", at least so far. Do I like it? Well, let's say I'm not keen on the cammo pattern...

I test fired the gun for this blog - certainly the first time it had been fired. There was no dieseling, but the muzzle velocity for three shots averaged 605fps with heavy (8.6g) "Peak" wadcutters, which matches the factory spec of 600fps well - this is a .177 model. Accuracy was commendable too, with my first three three shots making a tight cloverleaf at 10 yards over open sights. And this in spite of an incredibly heavy trigger pull of around 9lbs! This is not typical for the QB18, in my experience.

Overall, a sweet little gun. Light weight (5lbs 12 oz), easy to cock and shoot - with good accuracy. Maybe the factory thought it would never be shot, or they would certainly have done something about the trigger pull.

Will we ever see this model in production? Your guess may be as good as mine...


02 July, 2009

New Single Shot JRA Breech for QB78 Family Air Rifles

Many of you will have heard of “JRA”, Jay Joyner’s venture into making custom airgun parts. Jay’s first product was the QB78 family rotary indexing magazine system (which you can find in our store).

Jay’s next move is to manufacture replacement breeches for the QB78 family. This post covers the single shot JRA breech - in fact of a prototype that Jay sent me for review. Archer Airguns will be selling these breeches very soon - once we receive stock available from production.

The main benefit is the increased height and clearance provided by this breech compared to the factory breech. The rise is 4.5mm greater than for the factory breech. This allows much greater clearance for 9oz tanks used on a QB79 or AR2079A, or for use with custom shrouded barrels. The breech also provides a precision mounting base for scope rings and accepts the factory rear peep sights, too.

My first thought was “wow this is heavy!” The JRA breech weighs 21 ounces - that’s 14.6 oz (yes, nearly a pound) - heavier than the stock factory breech. It’s precision CNC-milled from solid steel and is supplied with replacement hammer and cocking pins, breech locking screw and barrel setscrews. This is clearly a high quality product. It functioned faultlessly.

This single shot breech works with standard factory barrels and bolts in either .177 cal. or .22 cal. from any QB78 family model. Installation is very simple - almost exactly the same as for fitting a factory breech. A material difference is that barrels are a tighter fit than most factory breeches and they are retained with two setscrews instead of one. This provides a very solid fixing for the barrel in the breech, useful as factory front bands can no longer be used with this breech due to the increased rise.

You can see a comparison of the JRA and factory breeches in the photograph below.

Archer Airguns will be offering the JRA single shot breech as a parts kit, or we will install it on new QB79 family air rifles ordered from us if you wish.


20 June, 2009

The QB78 Carbine is Back - and Better!

The CAR78a - Archer Airguns’ QB78 carbine is now available again, with dramatically increased muzzle velocity and other improvements.

So what’s new?

Well, this new QB78 carbine is only 35-inches long, that’s 1 1/2-inches shorter than the previous version and a full 4 1/2-inches shorter than the standard factory QB78. It also incorporates our new muzzle brake which has a beautiful deep blued finish and fits deeper onto the end of the barrel - hence the length reduction.

But the big news is the higher muzzle velocity. The carbine now shoots to the same specs as the full-length QB78. That’s around 600fps in .177 cal and 500fps in .22, both at 65 degrees F. Like all CO2 guns, the muzzle velocity increases with temperature and these specs mean you will see around 640fps for .177s and 540fps for .22s at 85 degrees F.

This muzzle velocity increase is achieved by using an improved breech seal to overcome the unintentional velocity restriction caused by the standard factory part. (See our YouTube video on how to make this change yourself) The shorter barrel reduces muzzle velocity, but the breech seal brings it back up again. The previous version of the carbine had a 10% lower muzzle velocity because of this reason.

And again, accuracy is - if anything - superior to the QB78 in standard factory trim. This is due to the solid steel muzzle brake, which dampens barrel vibration when shooting.

The stock is from the QB78 Deluxe - Chinese wood is getting better all the time and these stocks look good, many having some nice grain and/or figuring to the wood.

There's no iron sights on this rifle, so fit a compact optical sight such as the Leapers "Bugbuster" or red/green dot scope, such as the one we're used for the photograph. Of course, these are an additional cost item!

This new QB78 carbine is now available in both calibers at our store. Have fun and enjoy the great handling it provides.


18 June, 2009

How Do I Use The De-Gassing Key on My AR2078A Air Rifle?

The instruction manual that accompanies the AR2078 and AR2078A air rifles gives an explanation of this, but unfortunately something was lost in the translation and it’s not easy to understand. Fortunately it’s easy to do and works well.

The de-gassing key is used to exhaust the remaining CO2 from an AR2078 or AR2078A air rifle after the point of impact begins to drop as the gas is shot from the gun. Of course you can “shoot the gun dry” by simply cocking and firing it without pellets - this is the normal method for those QB78 family models without the de-gassing facility, such as the QB78 Deluxe and the standard QB78.

But the de-gassing key offers a much easier, faster and more convenient way to empty your AR2078 or AR2078A air rifle of gas.

First cock the bolt, do NOT load a pellet but pull the trigger.
Now insert the de-gassing key through the keyhole in the side of the stock. Rotate it counter-clockwise 180 degrees and the key will open the valve by camming the hammer forward against the valve stem. The CO2 exhausts through the muzzle.
Once no more gas escapes the barrel the gun is empty of CO2 and you can re-fill as normal for more shooting, or leave empty for storage.

That’s it!


06 June, 2009

Workshop Videos and Manual for QB78

We now have two workshop videos available on YouTube showing simple modifications or repairs to the QB78 family of air rifles. Just click on the thumbnails in the left column of this blog to view. I hope that you like them!

But for those who want to go further, there's a whole lot more information available in our QB78 Family Workshop Manual. This 88-page book covers just about everything you wanted to know about these air rifles. And, unlike those other workshop manuals that unhelpfully tell you that "reassembly is the reverse of disassambly", we actually describe how to put the gun back together and test that it works.

You can discover more about our Workshop Manual on our store site.


31 May, 2009

Testing, Testing and Improving...

Here's one from the archives.

Carefully packed among some product we received from the Shanghai factory a while back was this "Certificate of Inspection" with attached test target - obviously from the QA Department.

It's notable for several things...
1. It gives a specification for the accuracy testing - 3 shots at 10 metres with a maximum CTC of 8mm. The test target shows a CTC of 6mm. A pretty good group.
2. It's a test target for an AR2078B or AR2079B - the very rare versions of the AR2078A and AR2079A that are cocked by a slide lever mechanism, rather than a bolt. Very few of these guns have ever made it to the US and I've only handled them myself at the SHOT Show. And "B" models were not among the products we received in the shipment.
3. The serial number on the test target - 08682567 - does not match the serial number on the Certificate of Inspection it's attached to - 08682566. Oops!
4. It shows the characteristics of the gun that the factory tests for quality, bore diameter, accuracy, trigger pull weight, overall weight (this varies quite considerably between individual units due to differences in the wood used), functionality of the rear peep sight, performance (probably overall operation), and finish. It also gives a grading system "Result" to the inspected product.

There's no question that output quality from the Shanghai Air Gun factory is improving all the time and this document gives us a small view into the efforts they're making.

But, it also shows why Archer Airguns recommends "Gold Service' testing. Here we have evidence of a functioning QA system, but with some unfortunate lapses - the wrong test target on the Certificate of Inspection, and the document included with a completely different batch of guns as if someone knew they had made an error and didn't know quite what to do about it...

But don't laugh too loud, they're getting better all the time - and anyway, who's perfect?


26 May, 2009

Lead free Pellets - Are They Any Good?

Great claims are made for lead-free pellets. Crosman claims their lead-free pellets have ultra-high velocity. Gamo says that their Raptor Power Pellets increase the power and velocity of your airgun up to 25%. But do they?

In this post we’ll see what happened when I tested four pellets through the same air rifle.

The air rifle used was a factory-spec QB78 in .177 caliber - the first one I pulled from the rack. I gassed-up the gun, sighted it in with a red dot scope and then shot four strings of 5 shots each from a rest in one session at 64 degrees F to ensure consistency, with the following types of pellets:
- “The Peak” lead wadcutters with an average weight of 8.65 Grains
- Crosman Premier Light lead domes weighing 7.96 Grains on average
- Gamo “Raptor Power Pellets” lead free, pointed and weighing 5.04 Grains on average
- Crosman “Silver Eagle” lead free wadcutters, average weight 4.40 Grains

I didn’t select the gun or the pellets. All were shot “just as they were” to make a real world comparison.

The results? Well sadly, the lead free pellets don’t perform well at all.

Compared to the slowest lead pellets - The Peak wadcutters - the Gamo Raptors were a pathetic 6% faster - in spite of the claims of “25% increased velocity” emblazoned on the packaging. Another claim on the Gamo packaging is that “If your gun shoots 600fps, velocity will increase up to 750fps. Nope, not with this gun, they don’t. Crosman is less extravagant in its claims, but the Crosman Silver Eagle wadcutters did improve muzzle velocity by 16%

Also note that the slowest pellets - The Peak wadcutters - actually had the greatest muzzle energy, while the Gamo Raptors (which again claim to increase the power of your airgun by up to 25%) actually generated 35% LESS muzzle energy than those slow old lead wadcutters. Hunters require muzzle energy for a clean kill, lead free pellets obviously don’t deliver.

Gamo also claims their “Performance Ballistic Alloy” improves accuracy by 25%. Not true, I’d say, based on the results of this test. Accuracy of the lead free pellets was between 2 and 3 times worse than the lead pellets.

As you can see, the Crosman Premier Light lead pellets were very accurate in this gun - a great choice. I use The Peak lead wadcutters for Archer Airguns “Gold Service” testing and have good luck with them: again we have an excellent group, but with one flyer half an inch from the main group. The Crosman lead free wadcutters made a ragged open group. As for the Gamo pellets - well we can see only four holes, so two pellets must have gone in exactly the same place, but then we have a flyer a full 1 1/2-inches away from the group. The lead free pellets tend to shoot to the right of the lead pellets.

Here’s the numbers, the test targets are below:
The Peak wadcutters 8.65 Grains weight, 577.7 fps muzzle velocity, 6.4 ft/lbs muzzle energy
Crosman Premier Light domes 7.96 Grains weight, 598.8 fps muzzle velocity, 6.3 ft/lbs muzzle energy
Gamo Raptor lead free pointed, 5.04 Grains weight, 614.2 fps muzzle velocity, 4.2 ft/lbs muzzle energy
Crosman Silver Eagle lead free, 4.40 Grains weight, 670.5 fps muzzle velocity, 4.4 ft/lbs muzzle energy

For those who must have the highest muzzle velocity, the Crosman Silver Eagle wadcutters increase the performance of this QB78 by nearly 100 fps. But is it worth the compromise?

Take a look at the test targets. What do you think?


About This Blog

This blog shares information, ideas and knowledge about air rifles. It compliments the information Stephen publishes on the Archer Airguns website, on YouTube and the Chinese Airgun Forum.

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