Xisico BAM Air Rifles- Reviewed
BAM Air Rifles Review Guide:
Well if you were wondering if where we've been? We've been VERY busy. A few weeks ago the folks over at www.AirgunDepot.com asked us to evaluate several guns from Xisico, commonly sold under the BAM name. Before we get started, I want to take a minute to thank www.AirgunDepot.com. They took a chance on us by letting us look at well over $1500 worth of product. Be sure to visit them the next time you are looking for your next air gun or supplies. I also want to thank the folks at Xisico who have been so helpful and have agreed to let us continue writing more in depth reviews of these products as well as new products in the future. So STAY TUNED for what's to come.
If you review the photo below, it represents a fair sampling of the Xixico line. Starting from top to bottom you will find: B5-10 Multi Pump pistol/rifle, B3-1 "AK47" side lever/spring air rifle, B9 takedown/side lever/spring air rifle, B12 break barrel/spring air rifle, B26 break barrel/spring air rifle, B30 side lever/spring air rifle, B40 under lever/spring air rifle. So how did they all do? Keep reading and find out.
Starting with the B5-10, it is a multi pump "camping" rifle with a max FPS of about 420. Right out of the gate we had troubles with this rifle. Frankly it is not made very well. Most likely this was just dud but with a retail of about $75, is not something that I would spend money on. When we started testing this little gun, it fired well and has an interesting way to store about 10 pellets that gives it a "multi shot" capacity, but the air seal failed after about 7 shots. Until then it was VERY accurate with little or no signs of recoil. It also has a unique stock that slides forward if you want to try to use it as a pistol. I found VERY uncomfortable to try and shoot it that way. The rifle comes with open sights with no signs of a way to mount a scope.
The folks at Xisico claim this is definitely not normal for their B5-10 and we look forward to looking at another one in the future for a full review.
Moving on we come to the B3-1. We've actually done a complete review of this little rifle and have dubbed it "the little rifle that could." I was very surprised to have so much fun out of such an inexpensive little gun. I'm please to say that you should be able to get one for about $55 to $65. On paper the B3-1 is supposed to push pellets at 540 FPS and ours shot pretty consistently at about 500 FPS. The best part is that it was VERY accurate. I'm sure that the fixed barrel and side lever spring air system have a lot to do with that. Once I found the right pellet it was easy to punch out the bulls eye. The rifle comes with open sights and a dovetail to mount a scope. We used the compact scope from the B9 and that worked very well for our tests. If you've got a young shooter, give this little gun a try. I bet you'll be happy with it, we were. If you prefer .22 caliber, your in luck they make this in both .177 and .22.
Our next item is the B9. I believe the B9 is meant to be an upgrade of the B3-1. The craftsmanship is better on the B9 than the B3 and it really looks cool, but I personally had troubles shooting it. This may simply be a personal issue and not an issue with the B9 rifle. The included scope was a standard scope and this rifle could really benefit from a pistol scope or another scope with a much longer eye relief. In order to use the scope I had to lay my cheek right on the loading port. This tended to throw oils and debris into my face and eyes. I chose to just mount my BSA red dot scope for my shooting tests. This let me setup way behind the loading port while still giving me a clear view of the target. One VERY cool feature of this rifle is its ability to "break down" into two smaller parts. The barrel is connected via a kurled nut that firmly holds the barrel, forearm, and scope system to the rest of the rifle. By mounting the scope to the barrel Xisico saved us all from having to zero the scope every time we took this apart and put it back together again. Thought that was the last cool features, think again. This rifle is actually a repeater! It comes with 2 10 shot pellet clips. Every time you cock the rifle it loads a pellet. This makes it very fun to shoot and soot and shoot and shoot. You get the idea. Just make sure to keep track of how many shots you have left. Rule of thumb is to NEVER dri-fire a spring air gun. It is easy to do if you get to just shooting and not paying attention to how many shots you have left.
Like the B3-1, this rifle shot very accurately. While the B3-1 shot close to its rated FPS, the B9 did not. On paper the B9 should shoot up to 750 FPS. Ours only got 550 FPS on rare occasions. The rest of the time it was lower. The retail price of this little rifle is about $75. At $75 Xisico needs to make a few changes for me to buy one. First, include a scope that works well for the eye relief required for this gun. Next, seeing as they've given this a real "tactical" look and feel, replace the standard 11mm dovetail with a standard 4 sided picatinny rail system. Imagine if you could mount a flashlight, laser and scope all on the forearm of a multi-shot, hard hitting little rifle. I'd buy that for $75 in a heart beat. Fire up the injection molding machines fellas!
The next gun on the list is the B12. If the B3-1 was the little rifle that could, the B12 is the little rifle that couldn't. The minute you pick up this rifle you know that it is not crafted well. The B12 is a standard break barrel that is very easy to cock. It has a retail price of only $55 which is most likely why it feels like it does. The rifle ships with open sights. The rear sight is micro adjustable and the front is a hooded post. The big issue we had with this rifle was it complete lack of accuracy. From 10 yards we had a hard time keeping the shots on a 4x4 target. This lack of accuracy could be attributed to the barrel joint loosening up after every 5 or 10 shots, or the terrible trigger pull. Take your pick. As with some of the other problems we've had, I hope that our continuing to work with the quality control folks at Xisico will help the issues. On the other hand, you really can't compare a $55 rifle to a $100 or $200 rifle. What do you want for $55? Maybe we can get something that can hold a 1" group at 10 yards. Time will tell.
Now that we are done with the lower end guns, lets move on to the good stuff! We come to the B26 next. The B26 is a copy of the Beeman R9. The fit and finish are just excellent. As you look at this rifle, you just know (and hope!) that it shoots as well as it looks. It is relatively light and pulls to the shoulder very comfortably. A major drawback to most guns from China has been removed with this rifle and its Rekord Trigger system. As we get into these nicer BAM/Xixico guns you will find real attention to detail and the shooting experience. Having a really nice looking gun that shoots hard and has a terrible trigger is just disappointing and really unnecessary with the manufacturing abilities today.
The B16 is a fairly light rifle that cocks easy and has a lot of potential. It ships with open Truglo Fiber Optic sights and a standard dovetail mount for your favorite scope. Without writing a full review of this rifle here, I just want to say this is very nice rifle with a tiny price tag of only $145 for what you are getting. The Beeman R9 goes for about $395.
On paper this rifle is supposed to produce 820 FPS in .22. Our rifle fell short and produced only about 650 FPS. We had a few other issues with this rifle that we need to share. Our rifle had a significant safety issue dealing with the trigger and safety system. You can read about the issues in this post. After several emails and phone calls with the good folks at Xisico we've come to believe that our rifle has a defect. All the details are in the above post, so take some time and read it when you can. The only other issue we had was the barrel joint. It had a problem of loosening up and messing with the accuracy. I'm always a little nervous to over tighten and break something so I'm hoping that our replacement B26 will have all these issues resolved.
We now move to the B30-1. The B30-1 is a copy of the RWS model 48 side lever rifle that sells for about $319.. The B30-1 comes in at only $165, giving you fixed barrel accuracy and a well crafted rifle for about half the price. As with the B26 above, the attention to detail is very noticeable, right down to the excellent and fully adjustable trigger. Want a 2 stage trigger, with light let off, no problem. Maybe you only want a single stage? Just take the first stage out. The B30-1 comes with a nice set of open Truglo sights and a standard dovetail to mount your favorite scope.
Now all this is only any good if the rifle can hit the mark. The B30-1 not only hits the mark, it hits it VERY hard. Xisico says this rifle can push a .177 pellet at 1100 FPS. Our test rifle pushed out Crosman Premier Hollow Points at a blazing 950 FPS. I'm sure lighter pellets can see 1000 FPS, although I'm not sure why you would want to. While the Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets did well, we found many pellets that did well. Just about any reasonably heavy pointed pellet did ok.
Shooting the B30-1 is not a chore. The side cocking lever it is stout, but very manageable. I found that the rifle just loved my Dragon Claw Bi-Pod and it made shooting fun and easy. If you are in the market for a hard hitting hunting or target rifle, give the B30 a hard look before you buy something else in the $100 to $200 price range.
Last on the list today is the B40. The B40 is a beautiful gun. It is pretty heavy, weighing in at almost 12lbs with a 3-12x50 IR MD scope. The B40 is a copy of the Air Arms TX200 that sells for about $579, while the B40 comes in at only $290. Of all the Xisico guns that I've shot so far, this is by far my favorite. The trigger is as smooth as silk and there is little or no recoil and it is VERY quiet. The guys as www.AirgunDepot.com provided one of their exclusive Nikko Stirling 3-12x50 Tactical Airgun Scope for these tests. You will need a scope as this rifle does not have any open sights.
If I can just talk about this scope for a minute. I plan to have a full review on this scope but here is just a taste. I'm not sure what "tactical" means, but if "tactical" means clear, bright, easy to use, and accurate? Then this scope has "tactical" turned up to 11 if you know what I mean. The crosshairs are thin with precise mil-dot aiming points. Again, I could easily get side tracked on this, but just suffice it to say that I LOVE this scope and it may replace my tried and true Leapers. This model comes in at only $119.99 and a Accushot one piece mount is included for free. That is a lot of scope for not a lot of money. Do you want one too? Then give the guys at AirgunDepot a call cause that's the only place you can get one.
Now back to the B40. Touted as a field target gun, the B40 is very accurate. I've not had a lot of time to get used to this gun yet, but I'm expecting 3/8" groups at 20 yards to be very possible. This is such a heavy rifle, you will need a means to hold it up. Because it is an under lever rifle the Dragon Claw Bi-pod is out. I've found my MTM Predator Shooting Rest to work well with many rifles and the B40 is no exception.
As for power and accuracy, on paper the B40 is supposed to produce 850 FPS in .22 and our rifle comes in at 742 FPS. I really hope to see that rise as the rifle breaks in. I found the RWS Superdome pellets to work best so far. It got late shooting today and the wind started to come up when I started to shoot at 20 yards, so those groups are not as good as they should be. I'll look forward to doing the full review soon.
If you're looking for a SUPER accurate, fixed barrel, hard hitting rifle, take a serious look at the B40. I'm not sure that you can get more gun for your dollar.
Think we are done, well we are for now, but we still have one rifle to go. The BAM/Xisico B50 which is their Precharged Pneumatic rifle. I hope to get to this rifle over the next couple of weeks so check back often.
I have one simple statement that I'd like to add. Our goal at AirGunWeb.com is to bring honest reviews of our experiences. I want our readers to understand that not EVERY item coming out of a plant is going to work perfectly. The important thing is how well the supplier/vendor/manufacturer handles the issues that come up. Xisico has done very well to try and resolve any issue that we've brought to their attention. I'm confident that, while there may be isolated problems here and there, they are committed to resolve them and take care of their customers.