My grandad asked me recently if I’d come down and shoot his English sparrows before his purple martins came in. I was planning on doing it in Spring- when they’ll be nesting and easier to shoot- but hey, when your papaw asks for help you do it. I will be shooting between two houses with more houses nearby, so I want something that’ll work without destroying anything downrange. Shots can range anywhere from 20 yards to about 90 yards, so I need something that can do it all. I figured that the Crow Magnums will loose most of their energy upon impact so I chose them to test first.
The pellet fits snugly and consistently into the chamber- not terribly tight, but nowhere near loose.The rifle was filled to 2800psi and shot from 5 down to 1 on the power wheel at a distance of 25 yards from a rest. I shot from higher power to low so it would balance the pressure of the rifle as it uses air. I’ll be doing that from here on out. Here are the 25 yard results:
PW 5 gave me an outstanding group, but I wanted a low pressure/power setup. I set the rifle to PW 3 and shot a few groups at that setting:
Magically, the group size went from about 0.5″ to just under an inch. Back to the drawing board. I set the rifle to PW 5 and filled the rifle to 2600psi:
Although slightly better than PW 3, still not quite what I’m looking for. So yet again, back to the drawing board. At this point I’m starting to get frustrated. I refilled to 2600psi and began to fine tune the PowerWheel:
I went above PW 5 and it resulted in a group size of about an inch. When I went below (PW 4:8/4:10) the group size started to shrink to where I needed it to be. Note that the last three photos had several groups where 2 holes were touching and one wasn’t. The setup 2600psi and PW 4:10 was used from here on out.
The setup was shot over the chronograph 16 times. It gave an average speed of 990fps giving it 39fpe at the muzzle. It was much faster than I expected, but it did shoot well. Here’s a photo:
I shot the rifle at 50 yards, and learned a valuable lesson in external ballistics. I’m going to put a simple article on ballistic coefficients next, for now all you need to know is these pellets are tough to shoot in the wind. Wind was gusting from 5-10mph at full value. I could not get a consistent group, so I shot a few days later… in worse conditions.
I shot a few test shots at 50 yards to see where I was hitting. There was no telling where they were going to hit. I finally got a steady breeze to shoot in and printed my best 50 yard group:
I shot several groups at 100 yards over the course of several days. I learned that misjudging the wind by 1 mph can cause a miss by one inch- so wind is hyper critical. Here is my best 3 shot group:
That one little guy caught a small gust of wind to open up the group to about 3 inches. Maybe the group would’ve been smaller if I had perfect shooting conditions
Terminal ballistic test
On the the terminal ballistic test. A wax block was shot at 25 yards:
Entry hole was 0.5″
Penetration was 1.5″. You may have a hard time telling in the photo, but it appeared the pellet fully expanded at the 0.5″ mark then rapidly slowed down.
As you can tell, this thing opened all the way up leaving a wide wound channel. It just doesn’t get better than this.
And then we shot sparrows…
You may see the quarter inch void in the center of her back. This tiny martin house raider offered enough resistance for the pellet to open up and do its job. Its unreal how hard they smack their target.
I know the groups weren’t terribly impressive, but I’ll say this about the accuracy. This is an accurate pellet as long as you learn how to shoot it. It doesn’t buck the wind well (understatement), and your holdover will be magnified at long ranges compared to more aerodynamic pellets. It’s just not forgiving when it comes to correction errors. That being said, if you’re looking for something that hits hard- this is it. I will be revisiting this pellet in the fall when the squirrels start cutting.
Airforce Condor SS .22
Beeman Crow Magnum
PW 4:10 @2600 PSI