I was hoping to get out and do some shooting outdoors, but the weather’s been cold, windy, and I’m fighting a cold. Since I’m trying to get better and not worse, I setup at my 10 yard heated, indoor range for some extended pellet testing. When time permits, I’ll catch everyone up on the 20 yard performance of the LGV. For now, let’s talk a little about how the rifle shoots and what pellets shot the best at 10 yards.
Things to consider
As much as I love the LGV, there was one little thing that I want to share with new airgunners who may be considering adding it to their collection. Because the shot cycle is over so quickly and with very little vibration, recoil or other drama, there’s a tendency to forget about follow-through on the shoot. Follow-through is a very important part of the artillery hold technique. And, while the Walther LGV Master .177 is not terribly hold sensitive, you still need to have good technique to see the best results.
Our brains are wired a little ahead of time. When you fire an airgun, the trigger releases the sear which releases the piston which then compresses the air and slams into the front of the compression chamber. Our brain transmits the “all clear” to our perception and we then want to look up and see where we impacted the target. The truth is that often times the pellet is still in the barrel when we move and we pull or push our shots. Maintaining a proper sight picture and hold after the shot is over is called follow-through and it’s critical when shooting spring guns. Because the LGV is so well engineered it tends to lull you into a sloppy shooting state. It doesn’t punish you too badly for poor form and technique, but if you want to see all that it can deliver, then proper technique will be important.
There is a difference
For anyone who says there’s no difference between an expensive European airgun and a Chinese import copy, they’ve never shot the LGV. I can say the same of the RWS line of guns, the Air Arms TX and Pro Sport, the Beeman R1 or Beeman R9, etc. How can I say this? Well I used to be one of the folks who swore there was no “real” difference. Then, as I grew in my knowledge and experience in the sport, I started to realize just how wrong I was. There is a big difference.
Now, with that said, that does not mean that the “other” imports are not worthy airguns. There are some great non-German and non-British airguns, but they are in a different class altogether. If I were to draw an analogy from the consumer electronic market I’d say that there are consumer airguns, prosumer airguns, and professional airguns. Each have their place and market share and of course each have their distinct price range. The LGV is squarely in the professional class and is what I would call an Heirloom airgun. It’s an airgun that I’ll hand down to my daughter and she’ll hand down to her children etc. Consumer airguns are those that may last a year or two until the user grows out of them and starts looking for that next step up.
So why go through this long, possibly boring, dialog about airgun classes? Well if you are an airgunner and you’re looking for that “professional” class experience, the LGV is an airgun that’s going to deliver, and it’s going to do it out of the box. As we take a look at these sets of accuracy tests, it’s important to note that I’ve done nothing but shoot the LGV. I’ve not tuned it. I haven’t even checked the stock screws on it. I’ve not cleaned the barrel. I’ve not even adjusted the trigger. The only thing I’ve done is drop the Hawke 4-12×50 AirMax AO scope on it and start shooting.
Pellets and shot noise
Accuracy is going to be relative to the person doing the shooting. When I shoot at 10 yards I want to see sub .25″ groups. Others may be happy with .5″ groups, while others will expect .1″ groups or better. It will all depend on what kind of shooting they are most interested in. Since this is a sporting rifle, I’ll be pretty happy with .25″ groups so that’s what I’m going for.
Having done a good bit of testing already, I know that it prefers the heavier varieties. So I’ll be shooting 8.4 grain up to 10.65 grain pellets for my tests. An observation that came up during testing was the variance in noise levels across the different pellets. Usually the mechanical sound of a spring airgun vastly overwhelms any shot noise, short of a supersonic crack or dieseling. But in the case of the LGV, the mechanicals are so finely engineered you actually hear the shot noise. The lighter pellets are definitely louder than the heavier pellets. When shooting the 10.65 grain pellets all you get is a shudder and a thud. It’s quite awesome. Anyway, back to the pellet tests.
Back to the accuracy tests
I’ve got two shot cards to show you today. The first has 5 groups shot with the following pellets: Center – H&N Baracuda Match, Top Left – RWS Magnum Watcutters, Top Right – Crosman Premier heavies, Bottom Right – JSB 8.4 Grain, and lastly the Bottom Left – Predator Polymags.
Looking at these groups it’s clear to see that the 8.4 Grain JSBs were going to be a great option. The card actually shows 6 shots. The one shot off to the right was an errant trigger-pull on my part.
This next card has four shot groups. The top two groups are shot with the 8.4 Grain JSBs to check the consistency. And then, since the LGV seems to prefer pellets in the middle 8 grain range, I picked the H&N Field Target Trophy pellets at 8.64 grain just to see how they would do. The bottom two groups are shot with the H&N FTTs.
As you can see, the LGV will put lead in a very tight group, over and over again. What’s so impressive to me about these results are that they are what you can get every time you sit down at the bench. These are not hand selected “special” groups, they are just what I shot during an average session. This is what makes the Walther LGV, and guns like it, so special in my book.