Beeman P17 Pistol Project

I’m not one to make a huge todo about my own birthdays, but when I saw a Beeman P17 for sale at a local store, my birthday was all the excuse I needed to justify another airgun purchase. It has been about 2.5 years since I bought one of these, and I was kind of surprised to see it lubricated with something that reminded me of cosmoline. I cleaned up all the nasty lubrication, replaced the pison o-ring, and lightly lubed it with some air tool oil. At this point, it was shooting 7.4 grain wadcutters at 410 fps, just as the package said it would.

I’ve decided to leave this one as a pistol, but I wanted a longer barrel for a little added speed. My original 880 has gotten worn out from being taken apart and stressed to the limit, so I decided to take its barrel and use it for my new P17. I cut it to 10″, polished the barrel and ends, recrowned and added a leade to the barrel. Six applications of cold blue were made, finishing a beautiful barrel.

Barrel stays in place with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper

Barrel retention was a problem that had an easy solution – 220 grit sandpaper applied with grit facing barrel. The stock clamp is then applied, locking the barrel in tight for good accuracy and a tight seal. Here’s how I secured the barrel toward the muzzle end:

Note the silicone tubing

A .25″ length of 3/16″ x 5/16″ silicone tubing was stretched over the barrel and pressed into the end of the “slide”. It provides a tight fit and keeps everything centered. From the above picture, you can see the custom 65mm long LDC that I built to make this even quieter for indoor target practice. The P17 has quite a pop even with the longer barrel and this LDC turns it into a mouse fart.

Silent but deadly

With the trigger adjustment screw backed out a bit, it has a nice long first stage, hits a wall, and the second stage breaks almost like glass. Combined with a new muzzle velocity of 450 fps with 7.4 grain pellets and 400 fps with 10 grain pellets, this is a accurate, quiet shooter, perfect for target practice or hunting very small pests.

The beautiful thing about this build is that the P17 can be cocked without the need to backdraft or make major modifications to the frame. It can be done with a very limited supply of tools and an assortment of sandpaper and steel wool. If you have any questions on this build or would like to purchase a LDC for your P17, head over to my contact page and I’ll be happy to answer your questions or build you a LDC.

Waking up the Bear River Sportsman 900

In my last post about the Bear River Sportsman 900, I fixed a intake leak, reduced headspace, and ended up with a rifle that shot on par with a stock Daisy Powerline 880. Kind of disappointing, since I really like the handling characteristics and accuracy of the Sportsman 900. I’m not one to give up, so the story continues here.

I tore down the Sportsman 900 once more, determined to squeeze out the power potential that I know is there. As I mentioned previously, the mods I had done opened up some valve volume. To take up some volume, I took a 3/8″ length of some 3/16″ round stock and placed it inside the spring. This gives enough room for the valve to open and reduces volume allowing pressure to build quicker:

Stuffed the part of the valve inside the spring

I reassembled and got no more velocity than before. There’s foolery at play and I’m going to get to the heart of it. As mentioned in my previous post, I hadn’t done anything with the two dimples in the pump head. This time, the pump head was removed from the piston, chucked in a power drill, and ground down against a belt sander. Once the dimples were gone, I polished the face with a piece of fine sandpaper against some glass.

This further reduces headspace, but not enough to account for the lack of power. I then turned my attention to the rubber bumper between the piston and pump head. It is a very soft material, and I suspect it is giving me grief. In its place, I inserted a nut that was ground down just enough to provide tension against the pump head pin:

There will be minimal play with this setup

I went ahead and replaced all o rings before I put it together once more. Ten pumps were put in and a 7.4 grain wadcutter loaded. This time, I got what I was after!

8.71 FPE with 10 pumps and light pellets

I gained nearly 85 fps and 2 FPE over my previous mods using the same pellet. The shot to shot velocity is very consistent. I haven’t tested heavier pellets yet, but I suspect they’ll produce even more energy than these light ones do. We are now looking at reliable squirrel and rabbit hunting energy.

There are many other things I’d like to do with these rifles. I just might have to pick up another refurb or two!

1322 ACP Squirrel Hunt

I was testing out a LDC on Christmas morning and noticed that there were 7 to 8 squirrels chasing each other in the treetops about 30 yards beyond my targets. With my targets being 45 yards away, I figured I’d better work my way in closer for good clean kills. I sneaked within 30 yards of the squirrels and sat on the path waiting for an opportunity. It didn’t take long – a squirrel ran down a tree and perched on a large vine. I carefully squeezed off the shot, sending the RWS Superpoint into its ear.

You can silence an air rifle, but you can’t silence the impact. Those Superpoints hit really hard! The impact noise scared another squirrel up a tree and I slowly pumped 9 recharge pumps. The tree was 30 yards away and the squirrel was about 30 feet up the tree. Another precise shot to the brain sent this squirrel tumbling to the ground.

Two squirrels down within a minute

I sat for a minute more, then decided two squirrels was enough for now. As I was cleaning them, a couple more squirrels chased each other until they were within 25 yards of my deck, playing in the thick brush. After cleaning the two I had, I grabbed my 1322 once more to see if I could shoot one of these rascals.

Since they were in some thick brush, I crept in closer, getting to about 15 yards from them. They chased each other up into the top of a sapling, giving me a clear shot. I squeezed off a shot between the eyes of the closest one and began my recharge pumps in an attempt to nail them both. The shot one fell motionless to the ground and the other one ran down the sapling to see what had happened to his buddy. A quick sniff later, and he got wise to what was going on, taking off for the woods.

He never knew what hit him

This platform is quickly becoming my favorite squirrel hunting rig. It is rock solid and 9.5 FPE at the muzzle proves to be extremely effective with a mild holdover out to 30 yards. The muzzle report is virtually nonexistent with the 6.5″ LDC on the barrel. I need to work on silencing the pump itself, but I’m still able to get followup shots in spite of its noise. Here’s a couple of the pellets I recovered from these squirrels:

Recovered pellets compared to a fresh one

As you can tell from the above photo, even with only 5.5 FPE on impact, they are fully capable of delivering a fatal dose of lead to the target. Squirrels are tough animals, but extreme accuracy and a complete energy dump into the target are a lethal combo fully capable of humanely harvesting small game. I now have 3 squirrel hides tanning and we had the squirrels last night for dinner after an afternoon of fishing. Life is great!