The weather let up for a few moments this morning; and I was able to get out and shoot some 20 yard shot cards with the BSA GRT Lighting XL SE .22 caliber. As I wrap up this series, I’m preparing a new set of articles on getting the most accuracy out of your airguns. This rifle has been a good example of how something can start off a little rough, and end up brilliant.
You never know what will ultimately be the key to consistent accuracy.
To unlock the accuracy potential of your airgun is going to take work. While there are some airguns that are brilliant out of the box, they are pretty expensive and out of the reach for most airgunners. Being aware of this going into the sport, can help prepare you for the learning curve and the eventual success with your airgun.
My BSA GRT Lightning has presented me with just about every challenge you could find when working with a new airgun. Loose stock screws caused an internal alignment issue that created a binding in the trigger pull. That made the rifle very difficult to manage when shooting for groups. Finding the right pellet proved a challenge, as none of my normal “go to” pellets seemed to shoot well. With the “technical” issues out of the way, and the right pellet in hand, it’s time to work on shooting accurate groups at range.
It takes more than a nice scope, nice gun, and the right pellets
The BSA GRT Lighting is strange as it is not hold sensitive, but IS hold sensitive all at the same time. Let me try to explain. I would normally never try and shoot a spring/gas ram break barrel directly supported by a rifle rest. I always rest my hand between the forearm of the rifle and the rifle rest. But, the BSA shot equally well regardless. This may be great news for those that want to shoot in a more traditional “bench rest” way. On the other hand, if I changed the position at which the rifle sat in the rest, or in my hand for that matter, then the point of impact would move dramatically.
I setup at the bench today with what may be my new favorite breakbarrel airgun, a nice Hawke Airmax EV 4-12×40 AO scope, and a tin of the RWS Superpoint Extras. I set my target out at 20 yards and took my first set of shots. My initial group was all over the place as I was working on hold, trigger pull consistency, and minor scope adjustments.
This next set of targets show the progression; as I worked through finding the right technique to see repeatable accuracy. Starting with the top right most target. I was shooting with a loose hold, the rifle supported by my off hand under the forearm, and on top of the rifle rest. Moving my hold further forward, in an attempt to steady my shaky hands this morning, caused the very low errant shot.
The top left target was shot with the rifle directly supported on the rifle rest. Again, the low left errant shot was the result of resting the rifle further forward than previous shots. In this shot group, I was trying to figure out how I was going to work through the long 2nd stage trigger pull. It’s light enough at around 2 pounds, but it just takes forever, or what seems like forever, to actually fire. This is a typical issue with Gamo, and also Crosman, airguns.
The bottom left target shows my growing success in shrinking the group size. I’m still shooting off the rest, being sure to maintain the same rest position for each shot. The lateral shift in the POI was caused by me still trying to work out the best way to navigate the trigger pull.
Things came together on the final shot group generating a group size of only .412″ CTC. The bottom right shot group was shot directly off a rest; with a lot of patience and caution during the trigger pull. Because the 2nd stage is as long as it is, there’s a lot of opportunity to pull or push your shot as you take your shot. It’s frustrating because it makes bench shooting more difficult than is should be. With that said, consistent accuracy is very achievable with the right technique and patience.
Apples to apples, not apples to oranges
Before you all think that I’m not happy with this gun because of the long 2nd stage in the trigger pull, let me set things straight. I love this gun, even WITH the factory trigger, and here’s why. This is NOT a match grade bench rest gun. This is a target and small game hunting gun. To prove the point that the trigger is not a deal breaker for me, I setup at 10 yards in my shop with a field shooting support and took some shots while standing. I never noticed the trigger pull while shooting in this fashion. My concentration was on being as steady as possible with the rest of my hold, the trigger pull just came naturally. I can’t wait to take this rifle out bird hunting.
My final thoughts.
I love this gun. I can’t wait to see more products from BSA. Do I wish they would redesign the trigger? Yes I really wish they would redesign the trigger. But, that’s sort of like wishing that Crosman would redesign their triggers. It’s functional and safe and I guess that’s what’s important in the end. As a .22 cal critter getter and back yard target rifle, the BSA GRT Lightning hits all the right marks for how I like to shoot. This one is going in the gun safe.