Usually I start with the aesthetics and function of an airgun before getting into power and accuracy. But, since the BSA threw me a curve, I started with part 2 of the series. The point to take away from the last article is, never take things for granted. It’s easy to do. One of the critical points that robs accuracy in a springer airgun (or gas ram airgun) happens to be loose stock screws. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on them before sitting down to shoot groups, sight in your scope, or head out into the woods for a little small game hunting.
Man what a pretty airgun
From the moment I took the BSA GRT Lightning out of the box I was hooked. It was noticeably shorter than most other airguns in its class, but it didn’t feel small when I pulled it to the shoulder. The ambidextrous wood stock is simply beautiful. I rubbed it with a little wood oil and it got even better. The bluing on the rifle is pretty nice. It’s not quite as “deep” as the bluing on some other European airguns, but it’s certainly a lot nicer than of the run of the mill Asian imports.
The rifle does not have any open sights, so you’ll need to match it to a good optic. I’ve opted for the Hawke Airmax EV 4-12×40 AO scope with the map6 reticle. The EV line from Hawke provides a wider field of view as compared to similar scopes. I find them very bright and clear from about 10 yards to infinity. The map6 reticle is not your typical mil-dot reticle, but rather has a few marks below, left, and right of the center aim point, and one mark above the aim point. If your scope is setup properly to your rifle and matched to the best pellet, this should be all you need to keep your shot in the kill zone throughout the useful range of the airgun. It’s very simple and uncluttered and provides a very fine aim point.
At the front of the BSA GRT Lightning you’ll find a fully shrouded, compact barrel. From the first test shot, this rifle has been amazingly quite. The GRT powerplant, BSA’s version of a gas ram, takes a lot of effort to cock, probably because of the shortened barrel. The shooting stroke is very quick and smooth with zero vibration and minimal recoil. You all know my feelings on gas rams vs springs, i.e. I prefer springs. However, the BSA GRT has me admitting that I really like the way this gun shoots. Out of the box, no tuning or adjustments required; it’s really nice.
9 out of 10 ain’t bad…
In my first article, I complained about the 7+ pound trigger pull, only to find out that loose stock screws were causing some sort of issue with the mechanism. I’m happy to report that with the gun all buttoned up properly, I’m getting a very smooth 2ish pound trigger pull. The trigger is a version of the SAT trigger that you’ll find in the higher end Gamo guns. There’s a very light 1st stage followed by sort of a “thump” when you pull through the 2nd stage. It’s better than the way they used to be, but it could be better. If the BSA GRT Lightning was a match gun, it would not be suitable. But, this is not a match target gun it’s a general target and hunting gun and in that roll, the trigger is very usable and not an issue whatsoever.
The rifles performance was a little off par from what I expected. I was hoping for 720 or 730 fps with 14 (+/-) grain pellets, but I’m only getting about 650 to 680 fps. This rifle is topping out around 15 foot pounds at the muzzle. That could be a concern if it were not for what’s really important with airguns.
What’s really important with airguns?
I was thinking about making everyone wait for Part 3, but I decided to go ahead and spoil the surprise. In short, accuracy is what’s most important. (We all knew that anyway right?) There are guns that shoot with more power, but if they can’t put the shot in the kill zone when required, all that extra power doesn’t mean all that much.
While the BSA GRT Lightning is not at the top of the leader board with regards to power, it is very easy to shoot and has been very accurate at close range. (see shot card above) In part 3 I’ll follow up with some shot cards and stretch it to 20 yards. So definitely visit me here again as I wrap up this review of the BSA GRT Lightning XL SE .22 caliber.