Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Squee. Assembly and first shots.

Boy, I have so much learning to do.  :-)

The AirForce TalonP arrived a couple days ago, along with the Leapers "scout scope" for sighting and the Hill pump to fill the tank.  Today, I got to put it all together and take the first shots.

I'd say "awesome", but that would shortchange the experience considerably.

So much of this is new to me that it will take a number of posts to cover it all, but I do intend to get around to it.  Here, I'll offer a simple pic or two and a short list of initial observations.  (And my next step is to tap the community of AirForce owners at Tom Gaylord's commentariat, for several no-longer-so-abstract questions.)

This is what I have now.  Stipulating that it is not yet tested, it matches the concept I had in mind nearly perfectly.

Click to behold the glorious embiggenationment of a totally quickie photo.

Really, all the elements except a viable Ching Sling are in place, and if this thing proves to shoot as configured, I'm going to be pretty stoked.

A few of the details of the other side (note the power adjustment wheel midway down the barrel housing, and the onboard pressure gauge at far right).

I was actually expecting that the scope just wouldn't clear the frame bridge, requiring me to get taller rings, but instead it just did.  Awesome.

Okay, so here's what I need to know next:
  • What is the proper way to think about zeroing this airgun?
  • How difficult should it be to rotate the power wheel?  (It seems really stiff.)
  • Can the gun be dry-fired without the tank attached?
  • What is the "lowest low" one can run the tank down to safely?
  • What's the preferred way to store the gun?  This is more of a conundrum than you'd think, since if the action is closed and the power source (the air tank) is on the gun, it's kinda like storing a half-loaded gun (missing only the pellet);  and if the action is open, there's always the possibility of grit getting where it shouldn't.
  • How might one go about getting a middle stud for a Ching Sling?
Here are a few observations in general:
  • I do think this is going to be what I wanted it to be.  Sweet!
  • There are so many details to this system that are new, to learn.  Sweet!
  • There are several things that I now understand much better from having now held things in my hands.  Proportions and dimensions especially, but also more subtle things like the distinct advantages of the (two) different styles of onboard tank.
  • I intend to try two different sighting systems, as I learn about the gun.  One is this Leapers glass, representing the potential ideal, and the other is a small, nonmagnifying dot sight, representing the potential for maximum compactness.  (I may even try a Leupold scout scope on it some day;  at one-third the weight of the Leapers glass, it may prove to be the right "in-between" option.)
  • This, I think, is going to be how I really learn about sight offset.  Very well!
Here are a few about the gun:
  • The power is obvious.  Steel rimfire spinners...spin.  No, it's not a .22LR, but I doubt I'll need to quibble about pellet weight for any of the game I'm thinking of pursuing up here.
  • I now understand a lot better how this gun can be thought of as loud, for an airgun, while its stable-mate in the AirForce lineup, the EscapeSS, can show very nearly the same peak SPL on a simple meter, but be considered far quieter.  The shape of the sound signature seems to explain that, to my ears.  But...even though it is considerably louder than my Bronco, this is not a sound that is going to scare my girls, and that is important to me.
  • The carbine-ness of it is right on.  Total length is 26" on the nose, with a 12" length of pull, and both sight height and cheek weld on the tank is comfortable.  The balance is definitely forward, with that giant glass, but it seems to mount easily enough.
  • Trigger seems to be very workable, at least initially.  The (Garand-style) safety is smooth.
  • I now understand the value of a valve protector.
  • This is a very clever design;  unconventional looking perhaps but well-thought-out.
Here are a few about the scope:
  • Holy crap-tons, Batman, this thing is large and heavy!
  • Truly impressive light gathering and optical quality.
  • Build quality seems pretty solid.
  • The illuminated reticle gizmo may actually be useful, and "fails over" to plain black. 
  • I look forward to learning the mil-dot system, at least for my airgunning.
Here are a few about the pump:
  • I suspect I'm going to be happy I ponied up for the Hill unit (there are other hand pumps that are cheaper, but everyone seems to suggest that the Hill is truly that much better a pump).
  • There are lots of little things that I'm learning about dealing with high-pressure air in a small tank.  For just one example, I've already noticed the gauge on the pump and the gauge on the AirForce tank being out of sync (and you're supposed to trust your pump, first!).
  • Refilling in the field is a great idea, but must take into account that pump is heavy!  I may choose to acquire a spare tank or two for field work--they would be much more portable.
  • It seems pretty clear that safety procedure for high-pressure air is worth investigating further.  Very well, here I go!

Yeah, that's "brief" for me.  There will be more later, when the new chronograph (many thanks to my parents for that) arrives and I get to do some meaningful performance testing, and of course for the zeroing operation.  Perhaps this weekend...  :-)


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