Now that I’ve gotten through the break in period, it’s time to see where we are for velocity and consistency, and also accuracy. So it’s back to the chronograph to see if the break-in period has accomplished our desired goals. We need to see more shot to shot consistency, and a much lower extreme spread. The number that shows us our shot to shot consistency is what’s called the “standard deviation” and the number that shows us our extreme spread is, as you guessed it, our “extreme spread.”
I’m shooting the RWS 7.0 grain hobby pellets as that what I used for my initial “out of the box” tests.
- High: 998.5 FPS
- Low: 975.4 FPS
- Average: 987.8 FPS
- Extreme spread: 23 FPS (I’d like sub 20 fps, but this is much better than the initial 61.8 FPS!)
- Standard Deviation: 8 FPS
This is very typical of what you should see AFTER the break-in period of a new spring / gas ram airgun. You want to see the “high” velocity at 95% or better of the advertised velocity. If it has fallen too much below 90% of the advertised velocity, give the manufacturer a call as there may be a mechanical issue with the rifle. For example, a 1000 FPS class airgun should be shooting the 7.0 grain hobby pellets at least 950 FPS on average after break in. If the velocity has dropped below 900 FPS, then there could be a problem.
Time to get the gunk out.
Since our sample is shooting at almost 99% of the advertised velocity, then it’s safe to move on and check out the basic accuracy. But, before I head down to the bench and start shooting for groups, I want to clean the barrel.
I use a combination of various cleaning products and accessories on a regular basis.
The key things that I recommend are:
- Single piece, caliber specific, cleaning rod
- Nylon, caliber specific brush
- Bronze, caliber specific brush
- 3/4″ precut cleaning patches
- Air Venturi mP-5 gun oil
You certainly don’t “need” to follow my guidelines here. Just make sure that you are following the manufacturer’s recommendations with however you choose to maintain your airgun.
Recently, Umarex has created a pull through cleaning kit that puts the principles of all my above recommendations into a handy little case. This is my first time using it and while I would certainly want to keep one with me for field use, it’s not what I would use for anything that needed an aggressive cleaning. After pulling a few patches through my RWS 34, it was pretty clear that it was going to need me to be a bit more aggressive.Umarex Airgun Cleaning Kit, .177 Cal & .22 Cal
I pulled out the nylon brush and single piece rod and started getting the grim out. After an MP-5 soak for about 10 minutes and about a dozen more patches, things started to clean up. With the bore cleaned out, it’s time to see how she shoots!
Time for some bench tests
Being an RWS rifle, I pulled my 5 favorite RWS pellets and shot five, 5 shot groups. I shot these with open sights from 10 yards while using the artillery hold off a gun rest. I had previously sighted the rifle with the RWS Superdomes, so all the point of impact for the following groups reflect that baseline.RWS 34 .177 10 Yard Basic Pellet Test with open sights
- Center: RWS Super Domes, 8.3 Grains, .663″ CTC
- Bottom Left: RWS Hobby Pellets, 7.0 Grains, 1.107″ CTC
- Bottom Right: RWS Meisterkugeln 7.0 Grains, .729″ CTC (there’s a heavier variant for rifles which I may try later on.)
- Top Right: RWS Super Point Extra, 8.2 Grains, .708″ CTC
- Top Left: RWS Super-H-Point, 6.9 Grains, .336: CTC
My ability to shoot with open sights is limited given my less than perfect eyesight, but I was very happy with the opening performance of my RWS 34 .177. I would expect to see things much improved once I could get a scope mounted. Getting sub 3/8″ groups at 10 yards with open sights tells me that I’ve got a rifle with a lot of potential here. I’ve shot similar groups with the RWS Superdomes, just not this time around.
Well, the next step would be totally up to you as the shooter. Personally, I would mount a scope on the rifle, say a Hawke Sport HD IR 2-7×32, and continue on to see if there’s another pellet out there that could deliver better results. However, if you’re a shooter that’s looking for something lightweight with good hunting accuracy at close range, you could grab a few tins of Super-H-Points, adjust the point of impact slightly, and call it done. The important thing is that we know that the rifle is performing well within the manufacturer’s specifications. It’s shooting near the advertised velocity, and can produce consistently good groups at 10 yards with open sights.
I’m going to table this series for now as I’m heading out of town and will be out in the Texas desert over the next couple of weeks. I’m not sure what I’ll be posting on the blog while I’m away, but it will probably be related to hunting airguns. Be sure to keep an eye on the site!