By the time you read this, Condorliza will be in Texas going on a new adventure with a new man.
What? “I thought we were in love! Things were going so well.”
“Nope, I was just using you….to kill squirrles.”
Now that the denial has passed, it’s time to reflect on our many outings together- the good times, and why we parted ways after a year and a half of joyful togetherness.
How we met.
November 2015: I had been with a few different air rifles. They were all fun, some were cuter than others, and some performed better than others but I knew in my heart they were not for me. One day, I met my friend’s air rifle, a Daystate. She had it all: incredible accuracy, power, good shot count, a nice trigger, and a beautiful piece of burly, hard wood.
I longed for an air rifle like that… so, like many others, I swallowed my pride and resorted looking for a new air rifle on the internet. I checked several different websites that would find my compatibility with various air rifles. There were 2 contenders for my companionship. The Benjamin Marauder and the Airforce Condor SS. While the Marauder offered multi shot capabilities and a lower price, I chose the Condor as my partner due to its match grade barrel and adjustable power.
The honeymoon phase
After Condorliza’s arrival, I was smitten my her power and accuracy. With her, it seemed impossible to miss a target, regardless of the pellet, full pressure, or power adjustment. During this time, I experienced my first taste of intimacy, a sub minute of angle group at 100 yards. At that moment, I thought we would be together forever.
Our first fight
After shooting the sub moa group, I tried repeatedly for another group of equal size, but it was a pursuit of the wind. I resorted to tearing the rifle apart and installing an aftermarket “Super Sear” to lighten the trigger weight-about 1 pound. This too, while making Condorliza more predictable with her trigger break-increasing hit probabilities in the field, it did not shrink group sizes from the bench to a noticable level. In a fit of panic, I resorted to testing every pellet I could find, looking at hunting performance- sweeping our problems under the rug instead of focusing on finely tuned accuracy. During the .22 hunting pellet tests, I quickly found that the .22 is not as forgiving as I would have liked when it comes to poor shot placement. I found that my heart was yearning for an air rifle with a larger bore diameter with even better accuracy.
Finally, we were forced to confront our demons-extreme accuracy testing. Our entire relationship had led up to this moment. We fell short. I was close to my expectations of consistent and replicatible minute of angle groups at 1o0 yards, but could not cross that magical line in the sand. To add insult to injury, my number of consistent shots was in the low teens. To add even more insult to injury, it took 100 pumps to bring the rifle back to operating pressure. 100 pumps for 10 shots. It doesn’t seem fair…using so much air.
Towards the end of our relationship, I decided I wanted to test a .25 caliber rifle. Initially, I intended on using a .25 Airforce barrel, but once I realized the low shot count, I began looking once again for an entirely different airgun on the internet while I was betrothed to Condorliza.
But that story is for a later date…
I will always love this rifle. It shoots great, is extremely accurate, and has plenty of power… which is where the problem lies.
Yes, the Condor SS is too powerful. At the peak of the pressure curve, it can send a 19 gr pellet at about 1000 fps. If you manage to see these pellets in flight, often you can see them spiraling out of control. There are three remedys for this ailment.
1-Use a heavy pellet. I found that the 32gr Eunjin pellets delivered the best accuracy and shot at 810 fps at the peak of the pressure curve. The only downfall was the shot count 11 with an extreme spread of 10 or 15 shots with an extreme spread of 20.
2- Use a high fill pressure/low hammer preload combination that sends pellets downrange at a slower velocity. This will use the front end of the pressure curve and will result in a constantly rising point of impact. As long as you can predict the velocity and compensate for the trajectory, it’s not an issue. I, however, am not a math genius nor a clairvoyant.
3- Adjust the top hat. This is a gross air use adjustment compared to the power wheel which is more of a finer adjustment. Many people do this to their Airforce rifles. I was too scared to attempt such. The adjustment allegedly needs to be made with precision ground shims to make the correct adjustment. Not a big deal. The problem lies within the grub screws holding the top hat in place. If they are overtightened, they can bend the valve opening. Too loose and the top hat can fall out of place. To me, it was just too risky to attempt such.
Shot count… the best remedy is precise top hat adjustment combined with the installation of an air regulator. The regulator alone will increase shot count and accuracy. Not a bad purchase, but by the time all is purchased and assembled, you will have a $1000USD single shot rifle.
For $1000, I can have something better.
Overall, this is still a great rifle for the money.