Thursday, 16 January 2014

Barnett Pro Diablo Slingshot

 My at times annoying git of a wife got me a slingshot for a Xmas prezzie and that was really nice of her because i actually realised it was a pretty cool thing to get and not making her such an annoying bugger after all, i  mean she can be a right royal pain in the arse on the odd occasion but as far as buying me a slingshot goes that was pretty cool.

feels nice to shoot.

 Nice one wifey, i know it's not an air rifle related prezzie but it still fires heavy projectiles at a fare rate.

Thank you for my Barnett Pro Diablo slingshot dear wife.

Any way it's a Barnett Pro Diablo, which means it's got a sighting devise and some counter balancing weights on top of your basic Barnett sling shot. I love the ram's horn design for the sling to fit on to, maybe it helps with the claim for it being the most powerful slingshot in the world.

They used to make quality  Black Widow's when i was young and they had leather wrist supports unlike the plastic ones you get today, and it's the same today as it's the world over.

I'm sure this was leather when i was a kid, but then Wagon Wheels were bigger back then as well.

For 30 quid with spare rubber and shot it's a pretty fair deal, and so thought my wifey and that's why she got it for me. However after testing it i thought it could have done with a higher quality stronger tubular band to make a clean killing shot when used,

Surgical tubular banb that is supplied with the Diablo's, classed as magnum.

thank fuck for Google and Ebay for punting out such over power goodies for slingshots. crossbows, and air rifles. What is really cool about this baby is the sight, it may be very simple but it does the job straight out the box

Simple but effective sight, very adaptable.

 However you might take a while sorting it out to your own personal preference, it will pretty much adapt to your own style like my style of holding the slingshot sideways.

Just as comfy to shoot held like this, photo was done by wifey using her new fish eye lens.

 The counter weights somehow seem to make the whole firing experience a lot more comfortable, but they don't screw in securely and you have to end up using Super Glue.

Counter balances help spread the load.

But side ways held or up right the counter weights do help a lot, and you don't really have to hold the ergonomic grip as it will just sit there supported on your wrist.

Wifey modeling the Pro Diablo, showing where not to place the wrist support.

Though it's best you do hold that grip when you take that shot as it will fall out your hand when you release the sling, but you can pull the pouch right back and balance the thing in the palm of you hand, cool stuff. I've seen film of people firing arrows with these things,

Place that is ideal for fitting a guide for arrows

but you would need to add some sort of guide i would imagine. With the sight eventually set up right i have been getting 6 mm steel shot to within a couple of inches of aim at 30 yards, so it's head straight and always release the pouch from exactly the same place from the side of my jaw every time.

I can't use the thing in the back garden in case the bloke a couple of doors up thinks i'm firing air rifles again and complains to the coppers or housing group, and when one of those 6 mm steel balls hits the back fence it is pretty loud but has no where near enough energy to hole it by then.

Any way back to the counter balances which do help in quite a few ways, that is if they would screw in properly and stay there as that is what your supposed to do. You fit the weights and counter balances one time and don't remove them, or you will strip the thread by taking them off and on again repeatedly. The main heavy one screws into the base of the grip and helps stop the slingshot tipping back when pulling back the sling, or would if there was a hole to screw it into.

This is one heavy chunk of stainless and really helps hold the slingshot steady, i mean it REALLY  does.

It screws into the outer rubber grip but it looks like i'm going to have to drill a hole into the base material, it holds for now but does move about a bit. The two longer and lighter counter balances that fork out from the front help steady you hold and aim, they both screwed in but one on the right is a little loose and wobbles slightly.

Front counter weights are stableisers.

These balances turn it from the Diablo to the Pro Diablo along with the addition of the sight, it has some real heft and is pretty accurate but it's not something you can hide on your person very easily.

Not so easy to conceal.

This thing is excellent fun but it's a shame about the counter weights being loose, this came from Ronnie Sunshine's and they would replace it no hassle if you got one with any problems as they are a very reliable company. But for me it's not a problem as i have the tools and knowledge to fix any niggles, that is when i can be arsed to get around to it as it's still working fine at the moment. I know there is some old wise proverb about fixing things before they get any worse, but i'm buggered if i can remember what it is. The only proverb that readily springs to mind for me most of the time is "A bird in your hand craps all over your wrist"


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

Ooh, ooh, oh yeah, i just remembered i got given one of those self cocking crossbow pistols years back and they are great fun, if not a little bit leathal. Then i broke the open rear sights buy storing it underneath about two hundred weight of baby clothes, but i should get that up and running again as it would now be easy to knock up some replacement sights with the knowledge i've picked up in the last year.

Mmmmmmmm yeah.

What people have liked

Or haven't, as the case maybe

A load of air guns i got to work on.

Today i had a quick look at the stats on my blog, and It's nice to see where in the world people have a browse on this blog and what people are interested in.

Multi pumps appear to be the most popular and i would agree with that as i love them, then BSA's and Weihrauch's seem popular as well as underlevers, though they may not be top class ones. 

Norica Quick underlever proved useful as there was bugger all info i could find on it.

However i can only write blogs on what air rifles i happen to own or borrow, they may not be to everyone's taste but i like them and so do a small minority of other people as well.

The simple truth is i get what i can and play with them, and in this world of tinkerers if i can help someone along their way with the knowledge i have gained then that is a good thing. That's no great level of expertise as far as my blog is concerned, but what i have learned in the last year alone has got to be easily twice as much knowledge than i've gained in the previous 35 years put together.

The Sharp Innova appears to get the most views, but unfortunately that proved to be a little over the limit and was taken for testing while i was on my way to the woods to test and check it. 

Sob sob, boo hoo, i shall miss you, you wonderful little Innova, you.

I was gutted as i loved that rifle but very lucky to just have it confiscated and nothing more, my loss for the sake of £50 for a chronoscope which has now been remedied. 

If i got one of these sooner.
Now though i could strip, clean, reseal, and reassemble an Innova in under an hour, and that would include setting the blow off valve behind the pump head to keep it under 12 ft/lb as well.

the SMK B45-3 multi pump is another popular blog, and this air rifle i could strip and reseal while making tea and toast as i've done it that many times now.

SMK multi pump before.

SMK multi pump after.

I hope to get more multi pumps in the future as they fire like a PCP and have a self contained power plant, i could clean up and sell a couple of my springers and get a Webley Rebel in.22 for just over a £100. I reckon a couple of blogs about improving the many weak points you hear about on them would prove popular, after all they're just a sub standard Innova and there is bugger all info on the net about their internals.

Air Arms Shamal, Quality

The .177 Air Arms Shamal has received a lot of attention after the multi pumps, it's had a review and an accuracy test as well as a a blog on turning down the power. 


It's an amazingly engineered bit of kit and about the most accurate air rifle i have ever come across to date, as accurate as the .22 Air Arms s410 is, the Shamal is so much better in quality, style, and finish, in my humble opinion. Though the s410 is definately going to be my rifle of choise for hunting from now on, but that doesn't mean i'm not going to be using the Shamal any more as it's such a fine rifle to use.

Air Arms s410 carbine, pretty awesome.

The older British springers are next in popularity and the work done on the BSA Mercury has had a lot more interest than the Webley Hawk which itself has proved popular, 

BSA Mercury, nice British springer.

Webley Hawk MkII, British springer that tends to get slated a little.

and being a more a recent post still has time to catch up. Also the review on the Weihrauch HW 35 got a lot of hits, so i should imagine a blog or two when i get around to taking it apart would also prove useful as well. Luckily i have a couple of copies of Airgunner magazine from last summer that explained the whole thing, so i should have no problem doing the work and coming up with a half decent blog.

Weihrauch HW 35, a superb German air rifle

Blogs like this one where i waffle on about stuff don't seem to light any fuses, but then i like to keep up to date with blogs as there are times i'm just too busy to do any work with my air rifles. I would love to get around to finishing the knives off as they are so easy to do when you actually look into it, and they may not be air rifles a such but it's nice to have a good knife when out in the field. Any way that's it for now, I'm gonna find some nice pictures to go with this blog and press publish.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

Sunday, 12 January 2014

A Calm Sunny Day For Testing The Springers


And Walking The Dog.


"Take some guns and that bloody dog and go down the woods, he needs some exercise", said the wife to me the other day. Well i didn't need telling twice that's for sure. 

Scatterbone never waits like this for a walk, as soon as i pick up a rifle and my camo jacket he starts bouncing around like a maniac.

So the s410 goes in one gun slip and and the Mercury and Hawk fit in another, pellets in one shoulder bag and target board and resettable rat target in another and of we go. Except no it's not as i just realised i hadn't cleaned the barrel of the Mercury, i did the Hawk the other day and it was gleaming now as it was in a right state before. They both needed a clean as i wanted to test for long range accuracy, so it's out the slip, given a good clean, re slipped grabbed my binoculars, and put the lead on Scatterbone.

Picture doesn't do it justice as the cloths were much dirtier than they look here.

After a 15 minute walk with a fair weight of air rifles over my shoulder most of which Scats was off the lead and sniffing about, 


we get to the bottom woods where i unload the rifles and threw some stuff for the dog.

Kit unloaded and the dog retrieving a stick or something.

I found a nice spot with a good 30 yards clear between two large trees with the land sloping down from my right, 

Have to be careful of cant when shooting across a slope like this. oh, and the rifle was empty when i took this picture.

i walked over to the far tree and erected the resettable target and the thick hardboard target only to realise i'd forgotten the paper, pen, and tape. Oh well i suppose i could use the AA s410 to mark an aim point an see how the springers would do, this was just to get a rough idea of their accuracy and suss out the best hold for these rifles.

This needs a repaint as i can't see the circle that easily at distances beyond 25 yards, in fact it's easier to hit the reset bar.

First up was the .22 BSA Mercury with a Nikko Sterling 3-9x40 AO scope with off set mounts, 

.22 BSA Mercury in need of a polish and the stock sanding and oiling.

i chose to use RWS Superdomes as they had given the best results in the past.

Superdomes do well in the majority of air rifles, so do Crosman Premier but i ran out of those.

After lining the barrel by shooting at the resettable target quite successfully as it happens, i took 8 shots at the board from 30 yards.

A pretty good group from 8 pellets and i could most likely do better, the pellet on the left was my point of aim.

I used a kneeling stance with my fore arm resting on my forward facing knee allowing me to support the rifle in front of the trigger guard with the fleshy part of my palm, the butt rested in my shoulder lightly and the pistol grip was held gently as i squeezed the trigger. This way i was completely relaxed as i exhaled and the crosshairs lowered to the point of aim, which showed that this old British springer was very accurate if handled right with the right pellet. I tried using Eley Wasps No 2 but they just went every where but the point of aim, I suppose they're alright for helping me run the piston O ring seal in.

Don't think i'll be getting these again.

Now it was time to try the .177 Webley Hawk with a Range Right 4x32 and Hawke medium double screw mounts and i had got some .177 superdomes for it also as Wadcutters are a bit naff past 25 yards, the first shot sounded like a bloody rimfire going off as there was most likely a spot of cleaning oil left around the breech.

.177 Webley Hawk Mk II looks promising, but only time will tell.

A wipe and a few shots and the dieseling had abated, she was looking tidier as i found a hood for the front sight off an Innova which fitted just peachy. But what an idiot i was as i had forgotten about the scope creep and hadn't remedied the problem, however the first few shots grouped well then the pellets started to rise up the board as the scope started to shift once more. Mind you they did it in a straight line which looked promising , but i felt the scope didn't have enough magnification for this test so next time i'll use AGS 3-9x40 with the one piece mounts.

What to do now i thought, i think i'll put half a tin of pellets through the Mercury at the resettable target from standing, kneeling, and prone at different ranges.

Scope on x9 mag and sighting on the resettable target.

This proved very satisfactory, of course not every shot was successful but the practice sure helped and i could see i was improving. The s410 carbine was fully charged at 180 bar so i did the same with this to a much more successful result, i used three magazines worth of AA Diabolos then tried another two with Falcon Accuracy Plus.

Out came the Falcons for a test.

The Falcons dropped into the mag easily as the Diabolos were5,52 mm and sometimes needed seating, the idea was to have a pellet that at 13.4 gr would have slightly flatter trajectory than the Diabolos which are 16 gr. But the jury is still out an that one as pellets in the field don't always cut the mustard like they would punching paper, besides as accurate as they maybe the Diabolos and N&N Fields are definately more accurate but they still performed well on the resettable target.

 By now the target board was riddled with holes and it was impossible to show any interesting groupings, though what i did notice was that the .22 PCP had a lot more down range power as any pellet that hit it just ripped through leaving a massive exit hole.

Time flies when your having fun and after four hours it was time to head back, so i loaded up my rifles and kit and taking my rubbish with us we took the longer route back. 

The walk back looking remarkably similar to the walk there, seen one Cotwolds green lane, you've seen them all.

I would have been even longer if i had set up the Webley Hawk properly in the first place. Any way there's plenty of time to to do that again and when i get my chronoscope fixed i can test the springers and see what figures the s410 is giving.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe




Friday, 10 January 2014

BSA Mercury, Friction in the Piston

And Finding The Most Accurate Pellet For a 70's British Springer

Out in the woods testing the .22 BSA Mercury.

I have done a far bit of tinkering with the .22 mercury, but i know it needs a little more. It's knocking out RWS Superdome's at 10.5 ft/lb then slowly dropping down to 9 ft/lb, this i'm sure is down to the tight fit of the rubber O ring piston seal

The new piston seal O ring below is a bit over sized.

 I've read that it's a common problem that the piston seal can be a little oversized when new, and i did have to use some force to push the piston into the compression chamber with this one. Most people usually put a tin of pellets through to wear the piston seal down, but i reckon in this case i would need nearer two tins of pellets before any wear is noticed on the O ring.

Repeatedly putting a 1000 pellets through the Mercury would get a little tedious to say the least.

My other option would be to dismantle the rifle yet again, and use wet and dry to wear the O ring down, i would need to turn the piston in the lathe and apply the abrasive to give it even wear, 

It doesn't look over sized when fitted on the piston head , but believe me it is.

Then i would size the piston now and again till it was just short of a sliding fit, so once the ruff edge of the seal had smoothed out after reassembly it would fit perfectly. 

I would rather avoid going through this rigmarole again.

My only concern for the rifle is for the thread on the breech block getting damaged with all this taking apart and reassembly, i also have a concern for the spring compressor because of the mighty preload.

These were good value and sorts out the problem of the scope rail dovetails being set too forward on the compression tube of the Mercury.

A 1970's .22 BSA Mercury has a barrel that is 5.6 mm as opposed to 5.5 mm that is more prevelent now a days, and the older pellets that were a tad wider are not available any more. Eley Wasps in the blue tin are sized at 5.6 mm but are crap compared to how they used to be, 

No 2 5.6 mm Eley Wasps are not the pellet they used to be.

i have found that RWS Superdomes fit just as well in the breech and are infinetly more accurate. So with this in mind i reckon it would be best to see how the rifle performs after i put a tin of Superdomes through it, at 7 quid a tin it sounds like the fun option to me and i usually take a second rifle with me when i go down the woods.


   I have found the Mercury shoots most consistantly with a light hold and supported by my off hand just in front of the trigger guard, from personel experience most springers are more accurate for me if i support them at where they balance and this is where the Mercury balances out. The trigger breaks lightly and cleanly with no first stage travel so it's easier not to pull any shot of target, both my BSA Meteor and the Webley Hawk have similar triggers to this so i reckon it must be some British thang.

Ready for the off.

Testing the accuracy in the woods means i can't test from a bench rest, but the results will be more indicative of how it will perform in a hunting situation. The rifle was sighted for 28 yards and i will test at 15 yards and 30 yards, and with the shelter of the woods i don't have to worry about wind effecting the results.
Resting the rifle, uncocked and unloaded, while i go of to check the target.

Using the large cardboard boxes that were left over from Christmas presents as targets i took Scatterbone down to the woods and paced out 15 yards, 

Handy large cardboard box left over from Christmas, inside is foam packing and a piece of ply wood, after a few tests i can stick targets to it with the Gaffer tape i always carry around with me. As i say," If counceling won't fix it, Gaffer tape will."

i shot from a sitting position with my back against a tree while holding the rifle lightly with my off hand supported on my left knee. Out of AA Diabolo's, Falcon Accuracy Plus, Eley Wasp's, and RWS Superdomes, i found the Superdomes to be the most accurate in the 5.6 mm barrel of the Mercury. 

RWS Superdomes in any caliber are the best all rounder in my opinion.

At 15 yards 6 shots came inside the size of a two pence piece with the Falcon's coming a close second, the Eley Wasp's were all over the place thinking i had lost my mojo but then the the Superdomes did it again.

I'm pretty happy with these results, cleaning the barrel and perfecting my hold will improve results no end.

I tried to test the Mercury out to 30 yards but it was pretty windy even in the shelter of the woods, with the wind push the pellets two inches over to the left. I managed to do some shots compensating for the wind and managed to get on target, but as it was i was well chuffed with the results of the 15 yard shots. Having put just over half a tin of pellets through the Mercury since i last tinkered with it i have found the best hold for me, being happy with that i reckon i should just put an other couple of tins through it till it beds in and the velocity rises and settles down. I really would like to keep this air rifle as the surge and recoil are quite mild and as a .22 it carries a lot of knock down power down the range, and above all it looks bloody sexy for an air rifle.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.