Well. Jury is still out.

Between a lot of time spent at work, a date night watching “Battleship” and steady rain the last few days, I’ve only had a short time to test out the newly arrived pellet gun.

Friday night I had just enough light left to take a dozen shots before putting it away. I hadn’t done anything to sight it in, I just took it out of the box, ran a cleaning rod through it a few times with a cotton swab on the end and then took it out and shot it.

The result was rather odd.

Six holes in a group about six inches to the right of my target. All in a reasonably tight (1.5″) group for shoulder-holding it at roughly 20 yards. But there was another group of five, also in roughly the same size group about four inches at roughly 11:00 from the bullseye. The distance between the two groups was about seven inches. As for the twelfth shot… well either it was such a “flyer” that it didn’t even hit the target, or else it went through a previous hole.

I’ve never seen anything like that.

But I figured that sort of thing was still promising. Something was affecting the shots, but the shots were still consistent. So I got my miniature sculpting glasses out and inspected the baffling. It looked to me like the baffling was just barely intruding into the path of the pellets. Just barely. So I took a round sanding stick and sanded down the baffles. But I couldn’t shoot it again.

So after doing some shopping today I took it out and tried to sight it in, this time at about 15 yards.

This time I used a bench rest (actually a sawhorse) and took twelve shots.

They were all over the place. But on about the tenth shot I realized I had resumed my natural tendency to grip the rifle firmly against my shoulder and tightly with my hands. Bad form for these guns. My final two shots I took with a diligent attempt to execute the “artillery hold”. Those final two shots were much better.

So I set out a new target and shot four artillery hold shots. All of them were about three inches from the bullseye at about the 10:00 position. So I reset the scope’s reticle to the right and down. Of my next fourteen shots, 2 were more than an inch up and right, 8 of them were within an inch of the bullseye but slightly up and right, two were just below the bullseye and one was well low and right. The final shot was a “flyer” and was way low, and had that funny sound again, so I think it clipped the baffle again.

So I’m seriously considering drilling the baffles out by a quarter inch or so, just to be sure they never get in the way.

Now, how do I feel about thirteen shots with only ten within an inch of the bullseye from a mere fifteen yards away?

Pretty damn bad actually.

Normally I would consider that sort of shooting to be borderline incompetent.

But I have to consider that I got steadily better as I shot the gun. These guns are notorious for needing to be “broken in”. Many reviewers and owners say that you can’t really judge the accuracy of one until you’ve put at least 200 pellets through it.

But actually I think the issue is holding the gun. It is amazingly difficult for me to execute the artillery hold properly. It more or less violates almost every lesson I’ve ever learned about shooting a rifle. Plus it’s a heavy gun. It weighs over ten pounds. My .22 rifle weighs about four pounds.

I have to admit that the more I felt I was doing the hold right, the more consistent the gun seemed to shoot. After sighting it in as above, I took one final shot at about 25 yards, shoulder held, and nailed it almost perfectly.

I am almost convinced that using a bench may be one of the most difficult ways to shoot the gun. So far my consistency has been much better simply holding the gun. I think that’s because the gun recoil is so violent that even with my hand between the bench and the gun, it’s still bouncing off the bench.

Also, I think the pellets I am using are not good for the gun, even though they are the ones recommended. The reason I think they are a poor choice is because they are the heaviest pellets you can buy for the gun. Or at least the heaviest I’ve found so far. And that means they take longer to get out of the barrel of the gun, giving the gun more time to have the recoil affect the trajectory of the pellet.

So I am going to buy some lighter pellets that have been recommended for the gun. Those should clear the barrel faster and shoot faster too, meaning they will have less drop on shots of up to sixty yards or so, which is probably about the maximum distance the gun should be expected to be accurate.

Unfortunately I have to buy them on the internet and have them shipped.

But still, I don’t currently feel a need to send this one back.

Oh, and one more thing. These pellets hit hard man. They are so much more powerful than my pellet pistol that it’s downright scary. I would not want to be shot by this gun. I am quite sure that a well aimed shot would be lethal to even a medium sized animal. I would not be surprised to be able to take down deer with this gun.