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29 April, 2011

1,000fps. The Muzzle Velocity Myth.

Many air rifle owners are convinced that they need 1,000fps muzzle velocity - or more! - for their new air rifle. They also believe that higher muzzle velocity means more "power". I understand this. It's a natural result of the almost-irresistible marketing pressure by some of the biggest manufacturers in the airgun business to sell their products based on higher and higher claimed muzzle velocities.

But is this true? And what does 1,000fps (or any other specific muzzle velocity) mean?

Well, for many types of shooting, muzzle velocity means very little unless the weight of the pellet is also associated with it.

For example, everyone intuitively understands that a heavy iron cannonball moving at, say, 20 MPH will cause infinitely more damage when it hits an object than, say, a very light table tennis (ping pong) ball moving at the same speed. That's because the hitting effect of both balls is a product of both their speed (= muzzle velocity) and weight. If the speed is the same, the cannonball hits harder because it's heavier. This hitting effect is called "muzzle energy".

In airgun terms, this means that muzzle energy is really the defining requirement - particularly if you are hunting - rather than simple muzzle velocity.

The chart above shows the muzzle velocities that are required by different weight pellets to achieve a muzzle energy of 10.4 ft/lbs. (You can click the chart to enlarge).

As you can see, a very light 4.7 Grain PBA pellet traveling at 1000fps has a muzzle energy of about 10.4 ft/lbs. But an 8.0 Grain .177 caliber lead pellet fired at only 765fps actually has the same muzzle energy of 10.4 ft/lbs. And a 27 Grain pellet in .25 caliber only has to crawl along at 420 fps to have the same hitting effect.

So, a muzzle velocity of 1,000fps gives no real information about the power of the air rifle unless the pellet weight is also understood. This is why we show Muzzle Energy information for all of the air rifles in our ArcherPelletGuns store, together with a hunting recommendation that's based on the real "knock down" power of the air rifle and not just it's muzzle velocity.

This is why muzzle velocity alone is not the whole story on air rifle "power".

Very high muzzle velocities attained by very light pellets often give less muzzle energy (="power") than a heavier pellet traveling slower. That's why .22 - or better still .25 caliber - is almost always a better and more humane choice for air rifle hunting than .177 caliber.


27 April, 2011

Another Stoeger X20S Suppressor Test Target

Here's another test target from a .22 caliber Stoeger X20 Suppressor. This one was fitted with a GTXaa trigger up-grade and and also with a Leapers 4 - 16 x 50AO scope that Archer Airguns offers, uniquely, as a combo with these Stoeger air rifles.

As you can see, this gun was dieseling significantly - hence the very high muzzle energy. But it was still very quiet as the .22 caliber pellets did not exceed the sound barrier. Fitting a GTXaa trigger made a huge difference to the feel of the gun and it certainly helps me to shoot more accurately than with the stadard factory trigger.

I'm finding that Crosman Premiers work well in .22 caliber versions of this gun, while Crosman Premier Lights are good in .177 caliber models. Also the Stoeger X-Field pellets work well in both calibers.


20 April, 2011

New Stoeger X20S Suppressor Zoom Scope Combos Available

In response to many requests from potential customers, Archer Airguns has just introduced two zoom scope combo versions of the Stoeger X20S Suppressor air rifle.

Instead of the factory 4 x 32 scope and rings, we are offering the XS20 Suppressor fitted with a choice of mounted, sighted-in Leapers zoom scopes and solid one-piece mounts.

There's a 3-9x50AO combo and a 4-16x50AO combo.

These combos offer a superior scope/gun combination than the standard factory offering, particularly for hunting where the quiet shooting characteristics of this air rifle are of considerable use. The larger objective lenses give a brighter image and the much greater magnifications of these scopes will aid accurate shot placement. And, this gives a choice of mil-dot scopes on Stoeger air rifles as standard for the first time.

This is a unique offering from Archer Airguns. I hope that you will find it of interest!


13 April, 2011

Stoeger X20 Suppressor First Test Report

The much-anticipated Stoeger X20 Suppresor air rifles arrived at Archer Airguns today. We’ll be shipping the first units out to customers tomorrow!

This first test report is based on standard “Gold Service” tests that I undertook on two guns chosen completely at random. One is in .22 caliber, the other in .177 cal. The “Gold Service” test targets are shown below. Although I’ve handled the Suppressor before, this is the first chance I’ve had to fire one.

First, a BIG surprise! Both were very strong guns, giving 25 - 26 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. This is significantly greater than any X10 or X20 I’ve ever tested before. These normally pull 15-16 ft/lbs of muzzle energy. It’s even more than the typical performance of .177 caliber X50s which normally fall into the 20 - 22 ft/lb range. Sure, they’re still dieseling, but surely not that much! Time and experience will tell if this level of power is typical or exceptional...

Here's the .22 cal test target.

Appearance of these Suppressors is good, matching the standards seen on other Stoeger Airguns, with dark bluing and flat black stocks. The barrel/suppressor is covered with a textured black plastic material. Overall, the appearance is very tactical and practical.

Cocking was easy and the triggers pulled fairly predictably but with that typical Stoeger 4 - 5 lb pull weight that somehow feels heavier than it actually is. My impression was that the trigger pull was not so long as on other models, however. The trigger assembly looks identical to that on the standard Stoeger X10, X20 and X50 models so a GTXaa trigger up-grade should fix that in style!

Accuracy was at my usual average level for shooting springers. You’ll probably do better - most people seem to shoot spring/piston air rifles better than me!

The scope is not AO, but I was able to see the target sharply at 10 yards once I had adjusted the eyepiece focussing ring. The scope is quite compact - slightly shorter than a Leapers Bugbuster - and has a simple duplex reticle with an aiming dot at the center. This dot can be set to glow red or green, if required under low lighting conditions.

Below, the .177 test target.

But what about the noise level? After all, this is the great selling point for these air rifles...

Well, one obvious result from testing these two guns is that the .22 was significantly quieter than the .177 caliber model. Confirmation came from my wife, who’s used to hearing our “Gold Service” testing. “Wow, that’s quiet.” was her comment on the .22.

But I found the tested .177 still to be quite loud. This is probably connected with the fact that the muzzle velocity of the .177 was over 1,200 fps. That’s well above the typical 920 - 950 fps muzzle velocity of .177 caliber X10 and X20s. It’s also above the speed of sound and the loud crack was due to the pellets going supersonic - a silencer is not going to change this. With only one gun tested so far, I don’t know if this will be typical.

As the .22s were not breaking the sound barrier, this gun was much quieter - with shots sounding like a dull “thunk” rather than the sharp, high-pitched crack of the .177.

Should .177 muzzle velocities drop back below 1,100 fps as the gun burns residual oil in the compression chamber and “dries out”, the noise level of the gun should drop significantly. Again, more testing will give us the answer.


10 April, 2011

Choose Your Own QB78 Mounted Scope Combo!

Many people have asked for us to mount their choice of scope on a new QB78-family air rifle. Now Archer Airguns has a service that lets you choose your own "ready to shoot" air rifle and scope combo!

If you order this service with the purchase of a QB78 family air rifle, plus one of the Leapers scopes that we sell and suitable Leapers rings or mounts from our store (may be included with some scopes), you will receive the complete combo sighted-in and ready to shoot, straight out of the box.

This service includes the following features:
- fitting the scope rings or mounts to the air rifle
- checking the scope for functionality
- fitting and testing the scope battery (if the scope uses one)
- positioning the scope for correct eye relief for the average user
- mounting the scope into the rings or mounts
- test-firing at 10 yards
- a 3-shot test target that demonstrates the point of impact "in the black" of the bulls eye
- a Plano hard-sided rifle case - a $25.00 value

(Guns with mounted scopes will not fit into standard factory packaging for shipment, so the case is required)

Your own combo is shipped to you in the Plano hard-sided rifle case which, in turn, is packaged inside a plain, corrugated card box for security .


06 April, 2011

New Bent Bolt Handle for QB78 Family

For those of you - like me - who prefer a bent bolt handle on a bolt-action rifle, we now have our new Archer Airguns "91/30" Bolt Handle available for the QB78 family.

The design was inspired by the bolt handle of the Soviet Mosin-Nagant Model 1891/30 sniper rifle, as used by both sides on the Eastern Front in World War 2. As with the QB78, the basic Mosin-Nagant infantry rifle featured a stubby, straight, bolt handle. This was replaced by a long, curved version for the sniper version so as to avoid contact with the scope.

And although the curved shape of our 91/30 bolt handle is not required for use with a scope, it certainly provides an interesting alternative in handling as the bolt handle is now much closer to the trigger. It's moves well clear of any scope when opened and operates just like the standard bolt handle, just different!

CNC-manufactured from brass with a polypropylene handle, the 91/30 bolt handle is an ideal up-grade for your QB78, QB79 or AR2078-type air rifle, including the Tech Force, SMK and other-branded versions. Also the Crosman 160, if you're feeling a little radical...


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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