PCP Pellet Rifles - As Good as Firearms?

in The Pew2 months ago

So this weekend I also took out my FX Impact .30 Caliber PCP Air Rifle (Pellet gun) out to test while testing ammo in the new custom .22 Rimfire.

The previous 50 yard groups and the 100 yard groups today convinced me to "pull the trigger" on an upgrade version. The new version (on pre-order) is the FX Impact MKII .357 caliber (9mm). Of course being me, I had to order some pellets ahead of time. Here is the picture of the pellet sizes for comparison.
35calpelletcompare01.jpg
35calpelletcompare02.jpg
I just got some pellets in for the .35 cal pellet rifle coming later this fall. Check out the differences. On the far left, a .22 Rimfire, then a normal .177 cal (bb gun) pellet, then 18 grain .22 pellet, then 44.75 grain .30 pellet, then new 81.02 grain .357 cal (9mm) pellet compared to 119 grain 9mm round on the right. The new PCP Air rifle is predicted to push the 81.02 grain pellet out at 950fps, generating over 150fpe and get 40 shots per fill (more if external plenum is added).
Ooh ya, that's gonna leave a mark!

Back to today's .30 cal shooting.
FXImpact.30cal100yards10shots2020092601.jpg
FXImpact.30cal100yards10shots2020092602.jpg
I have to say I was amazed at the difference. Two 10 shot groups back to back under an inch. This is considered sub-MOA, the standard a high quality firearm is measured at. This didn't just out-shoot the .22 Rimfire, it spanked it!

I recently changed the pellet weight from 50.15 grain to 44.75 grain. This resulted in tighter groups at 50 yards, so I thought I would give it a try at 100 yards. I suppose the slight difference in size and shape or the barrel harmonics change the way it flies just enough to make the difference. With groups this tight here, I'm going to test it at 200 yards next!

FXImpact20200926.jpg
Many people just like to pick a weapon up and just shoot it. While one can certainly do that with these, the thing most attractive to me is the tuneability of these rifles. You can adjust the regulator air flow, the hammer spring, and fine tune the valve to get just the right harmonics and consistent shot to shot fps. Very similar to handloading a firearm round and adjusting powder weights.

Screenshot 20200927 155558.jpg
By tuning these adjustments, I was able to achieve a standard deviation of only 2.95 fps across 23 shots! And that big difference mainly from Two high outliers and one low outlier. Smaller shot groups are even less difference.

I have been impressed with this rifle so much, I find myself shooting it more than all the others I own combined. The really cool thing is that here in the U.S. they are not considered firearms, so can be ordered and shipped directly to your door with no license or registration hassle. Even the suppressors are unregulated for them, unlike firearm suppressors, which take 8-12 months and 200 dollar tax stamp.

I can't wait for the larger .357/9mm variant! May still be another month or two until it arrives, until then, I just play with that monster pellet on my desk and dream!

Enjoy!
@ksteem

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I have literally zero experience with pellet guns but going my the numbers I reckon they could have a legit purpose in a preppers arsenal. At 100 yards I'd imaging it would do some damage but what about 200? Would it knock down a rabbit? Would it even be very accurate at that range? I'll be looking for your 200 yard test but was wondering if you could elaborate on the practicality of the rifle from a knock down perspective. :)

Very legit in a preppers arsenal. I use a high pressure electric compressor to fill mine, but they can also be filled with a high pressure hand pump. I did that for about a year on my first one. Was over 100 pumps to fill it up, got old pretty quick, but great in an emergency or disaster situation.

There's lot's of youtube videos of folks hunting birds and such out to 200 yards, and even a guy taking an Elk with the .30 cal same rifle as mine. (Head shot from behind, dropped it on the spot). Looked to be about 40 yards or so. Probably not ethical shot for everyday, but in a pinch I suppose.

In my own experience it's instant lights out for squirrels and rabbits out to 100 yards. More than capable on raccoons and coyotes out to the same distance. If shot allowed for proper placement, wouldn't hesitate to take a shot on a deer out to 50 yards for sure. I'm guessing the larger .357/9mm will be effective on deer and such out to 100 yards, maybe further with right shot. I'll wait until I test it to make the claim for farther.

I had this .30 cal out to 200 yards once before it was tuned this tight, and held group that was probably 6-10 inches, probably a little dicey for hunting small game at that distance, but I'm thinking it will do much better now with the pellet change. I did have to max the scope out and then still hold 5 Mil high to be on target (not using any shims).

Folks are also now getting even longer ranges and accuracy by shooting slugs instead of the flat/domed nose pellets. More aerodynamic and fly better past 100 yards, but not a lot of choices in this caliber yet. A lot has been done in the .22 and .25 calibers.

200 yard target coming soon! While I wait another month or two for the larger one to get here.

I might do a little research and see what I can get here. It seems like a totally acceptable rifle, or what ever it's called, to have in the safe. It would be classed as a firearm here I think, although that's not an issue as my license is good for most firearms.

At 100 yards what would it do to me it I got hit...Draw blood, put me down in pain? Just wondering...

Lol, this is not the red ryder BB guns we used to shoot at each other as kids. For the .25 or .30 cal versions, think of it as getting hit with a larger bore .22,just slightly slower (only about 200 fps slower, about the same as sub-sonic ammo). At 100 yards, it is still carrying 45fpe of energy. Yes, it will penetrate. It would be doubtful to survive a head shot, and would likely still penetrate ribs to heart lungs. Probably not full pass thru at that range due to the soft lead and energy xfer. Now I'm motivated to do some 100 yard penetration tests lol. There are some impressive gel tests out there already.

For the .357/9mm cal though, that is even double the muzzle energy. I don't have downrange data but think of it as getting hit with a 9mm pistol round (again only about 200fps slower), but with slightly less penetration and more energy xfer due to the soft lead and shape. Just much more accurate than pistol of course with the longer barrel and scope.
K

OK Kris, that's the sort of thing I was looking for. Reasonable firepower at that range, enough to deter a determined aggressor I'd say. I'm going to have to do some research here. Odd that they've not considered firearms in the States.

P.s. Get onto the penetration tests...A pig carcass will work fine, that's if ballistics gel is not available...Although recipes are available for that online.

I'll see what I can do. Can easily do the 50 yard testing at home. Not sure how our range manager will take to me hanging pig carcasses up, but should be an interesting conversation. May be restricted to one of the more private range sites lol.

Lol, yeah good point, and I'll certainly not condone trying it out on the range manager...

The .357/9mm rifle just shipped today! Woot! I wasn't expecting it for another month or two. My credit card is crying, but I'm doing the happy dance!

Plenty of BLM land in CO to get weird in! :)

The new PCP Air rifle is predicted to push the 81.02 grain pellet out at 950fps, generating over 150fpe

Damn, that's more than most 22LR ammo is pushing. If someone were willing to do the engineering, you could also get that full-auto without being a registered/tax-stamped machine gun. You can already find the full auto BB guns in stores.

A few of the makers have started coming out with some semi-auto versions in these higher power models. Only a matter of time I suppose until they get even faster. I didn't even think about not having to register it though. Interesting thought.

This model has a side cocking lever which is actually pretty fast, and Saber Tactical just released a pump action slide mod for it. They want 400 U.S. for it thought, seems 2-3 times more proud than they should be for my taste.

I think air rifle manufacturers know if they push their limits they risk falling under legislative scrutiny/control.

That's pretty cool but $400 for any non-optic pew pew part or accessory is outlandish.

On the topic of high powered air rifles btw, check out some videos on the Girardoni air rifle if you haven't seen much of it. A really cool rifle almost out of its time. Had a 20 ball magazine and could fire rapidly in succession, especially compared to the contemporary muzzle loaders. The Austrians fielded for 25 years and Lewis & Clark took it on their famous expedition.

That is cool. I think a saw a review of that Giradoni on one of the televised Airgun shows. Amazing they could make such a thing in the time with leather seals and such. Pretty good power for it's day if I recall, able to take small game for the cooking fire.

The .357/9mm rifle just shipped today! Woot! I wasn't expecting it for another month or two. My credit card is crying, but I'm doing the happy dance!

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Handsome looking as well as accurate..

Thanks, I like the look, even though I'm generally more a fan of traditional wood look. These just appeal to me for some reason, but it was really the accuracy and technical tuning fun that closed the deal.

The .357/9mm rifle just shipped today! Woot! I wasn't expecting it for another month or two. My credit card is crying, but I'm doing the happy dance!

I didn't realize that pellet rifles got that fancy! I have one in .177 that has ended many a squirrel's life but it is not gas powered.

We used those as kids, many, many hours in the woods each week/day. Imagine that at 10x-30x. It's a whole different world with these. The .30 cal is immediate lights out for squirrels at least out to 75-100 yards. Much more accurate than our old daisy, crossman, and Benjamin were, and much more humane if hunting.