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?

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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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