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BSA Lightning XL SE – Part 2

Part 2? What happened to Part 1!?

I’m still working through my series on the Beeman Dual Cal, but I want to take a short detour. I received a new rifle in the shop the other day. It was the long anticipated Benjamin Trail NP 2! I was all set to jump in and get to reviewing it, but then noticed that it had been damaged in shipping. So that review will need to wait for a replacement rifle. But don’t dismay; I’ve got something else very cool so show you.

BSA GRT Lightning XL SE Air Rifle Available in 0.177, 0.22 & 0.25 Caliber

BSA GRT Lightning XL SE Air Rifle
Available in 0.177, 0.22 & 0.25 Caliber

The BSA GRT Lightening XL SE .22 caliber

I’ve had the BSA GRT Lightening XL SE .22 Caliber rifle in the shop for a couple of weeks, running it through its paces. Today, I finally got setup on my bench at 10 yards to do some testing, and wanted to share the results sooner than later. I’ll get to the aesthetics and function of the rifle in the next part of the review. So, effectively I’m doing this backwards.

I personally requested this rifle from my Gamo rep because I wanted to see the best of what BSA had to offer in a break barrel airgun. Out of the box this thing is impressive from stem to stern. It comes without optics, so you will have to add your own. I’m using a Hawke Airmax EV 4-12×40 AO Scope. This scope has a very wide field of view and very clear optics.

Things to check first… rather Things I wish I had checked first.

As I setup on the bench, I noticed the trigger pull what not what I was hoping for. This is really the only thing that I’ve not been pleased with on this rifle. When I measured the trigger pull it was 7 pounds 2.1 ounces. That’s really WAY too heavy for any type of serious shooting, and not at all acceptable for a gun at this price point (this is not the end of the story… keep reading!). Trigger pull or not, the review must go on, so I setup with 5 sample pellets and began firing down range. I’m using OnTarget Target Data Systems software to measure my groups. I may devote an article or two on this software at a later time.

Today I’m shooting basic 5 shot groups with each pellet. Here’s what I’m using:

  1. Gamo Bullet Lead Free – 14.5 grains – 680 FPS average velocity
  2. RWS Superdomes – 14.5 grains – 652 FPS average velocity
  3. JSB Exact Jumbo Express – 14.3 grains – 619 FPS average velocity
  4. Winchester Hunting (no longer available) – 14.5 grains – 610 FPS average velocity
  5. Benjamin Discovery Hollow Points – 14.3 grains – 643 FPS average velocity

The Gamo Bullet Pellets were first up to the plate, and shot a disappointing .587″ center to center at 10 yards. I have to admit that I was having a really hard time controlling the trigger pull.

Gamo Bullet Lead Free - 14.5 grains - 680 FPS average velocity

Gamo Bullet Lead Free – 14.5 grains – 680 FPS average velocity

Next up were the RWS Superdomes which fared a bit better, producing a .445″ center to center group at 10 yards. This was an improvement, but I want a lot more from this BSA breakbarrel.

RWS Superdomes - 14.5 grains - 652 FPS average velocity

RWS Superdomes – 14.5 grains – 652 FPS average velocity

My next pellet was the JSB Exact Jumbo Express, weighing in at 14.3 grains. This pellet is starting to deliver what I was expecting from this airgun. It’s not there yet, but it gave me a .316″ CTC group at 10 yards.

JSB Exact Jumbo Express - 14.3 grains - 619 FPS average velocity

JSB Exact Jumbo Express – 14.3 grains – 619 FPS average velocity

The second to last pellet was the Winchester Hunter pellet. This was actually the old Gamo Hunter pellet before they changed the manufacturing process to what they have now. It was a favorite of many of my old springers, and I thought the BSA may like it. I did not know they had been discontinued though, so I guess this group is for nostalgia. It doesn’t really matter as the groups opened back up, giving me a .496″ center to center group at 10 yards. By now I know how to pull this super heavy trigger, so I can’t blame it for the group size.

Winchester Hunting (no longer available) - 14.5 grains - 610 FPS average velocity

Winchester Hunting (no longer available) – 14.5 grains – 610 FPS average velocity

My final pellet was an afterthought frankly. I had an extra row on my shot card so I figured “why not.” I grabbed a tin of Benjamin Discovery Hollow Points and fired off my 5 shot group. This group was more like what I was hoping to see, and came in with a group size of .279″ center at 10 yards.

Benjamin Discovery Hollow Points - 14.3 grains - 643 FPS average velocity

Benjamin Discovery Hollow Points – 14.3 grains – 643 FPS average velocity

Back to what I wish I had checked…

It was now time to get some basic velocities so I could put together this backwards rifle review. When I got to the chrony, I noticed what felt like the gun shifting in the stock when I cocked it. I did not notice it at the bench but I could definitely feel it now. I checked the stock screws, and sure enough, there was a loose forearm screw and the rear screw was very loose. I tightened them up and went back to testing velocities.

I went to take up the slack on the trigger for my first shot, and the gun unexpectedly fired. Fortunately, I follow good muzzle control and the pellet went harmlessly into the trap. I know what you must be thinking; defective gun, right? Well, you’d be incorrect. What happened was, the 7 pound 2.1 ounce trigger pull dropped to 2 pounds 1.2 ounces. I was so accustomed to that heavy pull, I pulled right through the break. Something with the stock screws being loose must have been causing an alignment or binding issue with the trigger. This is MUCH more what I expected from a higher end airgun.

What Part is next?

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I’ll go ahead and write up Part 1. I can’t wait to finally get to Part 3 and show some more shot groups now that I’ve got it working the way it should. Moral of the story? Always check your stock screws BEFORE you sit down at the bench to shoot groups. Keep your eyes on the blog as I follow up with our BSA GRT Lightning and our Beeman Dual Cal. There are a lot more articles in the works!

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BSA GRT Lightning XL SE Air Rifle Available in 0.177, 0.22 & 0.25 Caliber

I’m still working through my series on the Beeman Dual Cal, but I want to take a short detour. I received a new rifle in the shop the other day. It was the long anticipated Benjamin Trail NP 2! I was all set to jump in and get to reviewing it, but then noticed that it had been damaged in shipping. So that review will need to wait for a replacement rifle. But don’t dismay; I’ve got something else very cool so show you. The BSA GRT Lightening XL SE .22 caliber I’ve had the BSA GRT Lightening XL SE .22 Caliber rifle in the shop for a couple of weeks, running it through its paces. Today, I finally got setup on my bench at 10 yards to do some testing, and wanted to share the results sooner than later. I’ll get to the aesthetics and function of the rifle in the next part of the review. So, effectively I’m doing this backwards. I personally requested this rifle from my Gamo rep because I wanted to see the best of what BSA had to offer in a break barrel airgun. Out of the box this thing is impressive from stem to stern. It comes without optics, so you will have to add your own. I’m using a Hawke Airmax EV 4-12×40 AO Scope. This scope has a very wide field of view and very clear optics. Things to check first… rather Things I wish I had checked first. As I setup on the bench, I noticed the trigger pull what not what I was hoping for. This is really the only thing that I’ve not been pleased with on this rifle. When I measured the trigger pull it was 7 pounds 2.1 ounces. That’s really WAY too heavy for any […]

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