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Challenger PCP

May 15 2013 at 8:04 PM
robert  (Login gubb33ps)
YF

May as well post this here too, so this forum doesn't feel neglected.



Crosman Challenger 2009 PCP showed up today. Possibly the best $397 Ive spent on an airgun (think theyre gone, but Amazon had the no-sight version at that price).

A little side-by-side with the old Challenger 2000 co2 rifle.

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OUT THE BOX ONCE-OVER (something Id do to any new gun):

1. Unpack carefully as it is possible youll be sending it right back and will need the boxes as undamaged as possible.

2. VISUAL check. Look over the gun carefully looking for problems. Sitting crooked in the stock, something dangling at an angle, rust, etc.

3. Carefully tighten all screws. Not bust a thread tight, just be sure they are all snug.

4. Put a few patches through the barrel. This one was filthy out the box, but five patches cured that.

5. Came empty, so fill the gun and listen for any leaks (didnt find any, but will it hold at a set pressure over night(yes).

A LITTLE MORE DETAIL:

6. The barrel is free floated, and it will move if you press on it. Actually, it will rattle if you shake it (lot of flex in those skinny barrels). Is tided down tightly at the breech, but the front barrel band is made over size and serves as a bumper guard.

7. Out the box trigger was no better than a typical Discovery trigger. Heavy and mushy. Has all the adjustments of a M-rod, so that can certainly be cured, but wont be doing after the trigger until a few 100 shots have been fired (want the sharp edges to break in a bit before bothering with adjustments).

8. Bolt seemed a bit dry and rough to cycle. A little bit of white lithium grease took most of that away (and I expect it to smooth up with use).

9. Removed the stock screw to judge how the metal fit to the stock. Rocking or being able to rotate the metal in the stock is not a good sign. This rifle did NOT SHOW THAT, but it might be a little jammed into the stock (seems to bind a little, not freely releasing). Will take in in and out the stock a few dozen times and see if that sticky loosens up a bit.

10. Showed a little bump while chambering a wad cutter pellet. Seemed to want to catch sharp edged pellet noses on the joint between the barrel and the breech. Not noticed with smooth nosed domed pellets.

11. Polish and blue about what youd expect on a good Discovery, They arent spending time/money making these beautiful.

12. Air tube is longer than a Discovery, but the extra length is at the rear (from the valve retaining screws BACK to the rear) so the air volume is about the same.

13. That extra rear tube length allows the Challenger breech and odd straight pull bolt system to mount. Its a much better breech, with a longer and wider foot print to the air tube and a better securing system. Much more solid mounting.

14. Uses a rear band and a front band. Rear band is tight to the barrel and air tube, adding rear support. Front band is a bumper guard designed to fit loose on the free floated barrel.

15. LW barrel is actually shorter than a Discovery barrel. The square front sight mount/ barrel brake extends barrel length to the end of the air tube.

TESTING:

Eventually, it will wear match sights. Had a set that would fit (from an old Gamo 126) and seem almost identical to the sight set that Crosman uses on the with sights model. For sure, are twins of the sights used on the older Challenger 2000 co2 rifle.

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But to test pellets and to take some of the human element out of the results, will be testing with a scope. Once I find the right combination, will revert back to iron.


Here is a pretty good summation of getting the old Crosman 2000 CO2 to shoot pretty well.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/275684/message/1368408392/Crosman+2000+%28just+in+case+anyone+still+runs+one%29


The PCP easily out shot the co2 version on its first fill. Not broken in, still with the out-the-box stiff trigger, and with the first pellet tried.

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To be honest, thats as good as my AA 200T (.177) or AA s200 (.22) shoots. A lot less power with the Challenger, but paper targets dont care.

IMPRESSIONS:

Adjust the trigger, and this gun could do better (if the shooter can).

NO shroud or LDC, but at this speed and air use, one isnt needed.

Came out the box set for 8.4gr. @ 540fps. Call it 5.4 foot pounds. Has some adjustment to stroke and to striker spring tension and have seen reports of getting the same weight pellets up to about 6 6.2 foot pounds.

Will shoot a full shot count, but expect it (as currently set) to get about 85-90 shots per fill (good shots inside of 2% variation).


Going to take it easy, testing under the best circumstances (and only when I feel I can shoot well enough to call it fair).

1. Find the best pellet

2. Get a true reading of shot count

3. Adjust power to find the relationship between energy and shot count.

4. Cure that little bump from the joint between barrel and breech.

5. Check on the binding of the stock and metal work.



TEST AFTERNOON #1: SHOT COUNT AS ISSUED

Nothing changed, shooting the gun as it came out the box.

Did stop off after work and pick up a couple of tins of cheap .177 Crosman 7.9gr. HPs for shot count testing. Am a little too cheap to blow though that many high-priced pellets just to get shot counts; the Crosmans will serve as a shot-count base as any adjstments are made.

Shoot count: 1900 1050psi

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Summation of shot count:

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A little slower with the cheap 7.9gr. than the JSB 8.4gr. Normally would think the lighter pellet would always be faster than the heavy one, but here the pellet ½ grain lighter is moving 15-20fps slower. That might be a matter of hardness and/or of pellet fit.

Cleaned the barrel again, finding it filthy once again. Will have to watch that and see how many shots before accuracy starts to fail.

So far, the 8.4gr. JSBs are the pellet to beat. Dug around in my pellet locker and came up with 12 different types of .177 pellets (although I had to dig deep for #12).

5 shots each (one target per pellet type) @ 20 yards (stable bench rest):


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The ones passing to the next round of tests will see 5 5-shot groups averages (25 shots total). Still looking to equal of beat JSB 8.4s, but suspect that one might be difficult to unseat as champion.


AFTERNOON #2 OF TESTING:

Came up on my break-in cycles of 400 rounds fired. Cleaned and adjusted the trigger system. Believe the games this gun was made for require a trigger that can lift 1.5 pounds (although its been awhile and that may not be the rule-weight). As issued, it would certainly do that.

Did not want a super light pull, 1.5 2 pounds would have been fine with me if it was crisp. Wasnt crisp, was mushy.

The provided adjustments did the job just fine, coming to a nice crisp light second stage break.

First stage was a bit heavier than I cared for. Are a couple of springs in this system (a coil and a rat trap spring). Seems the coil spring (A in the manuals trigger diagram ) seem to power the first (take up) stage of the two stage system. Does have a bit to do with the final stage, but mostly it seems to control the first stage.

Made and substituted a lighter spring; can always pop in the original when needed. This did seem to make the first stage lighter and more to my liking (of course, removing weight from the first stage, while it does not really change the final stage, still decreases the dead weight the trigger can hold).

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STROKE/STRIGER TENSION ADJUSTMENTS

There is a stroke and a tension adjustment, but they wont do a whole lot.

Maxed out, managed to get the test 7.9gr. cheapie-Crosmans up to 580fps. BUT velocity variations got outrageous. Think its a case of trying to push more air though the same size hole. Certainly seems to be one that in order to get moving significantly faster, are going to have to do some valve and transfer port mods.

Up to 560-565fps, velocity variations between shots were not excessive and accuracy didnt seem to suffer. Same for the low end, finding velocity varitions got excessive lower than 490fps. So the as issued range on this gun seems to be from 480fps/7.9gr./ 4.0 foot pounds to 560fps / 7.9gr./ 5.4 foot pounds. To go faster, are going to have to get it breathing better.

Shot count DID SUFFER. In the small realm of useful adjustments at hand (low end about 490-495 and the high end of 550-560), the relationship between energy and shot count over this small 4.2 5.4 foot pound area seemed about like this:

X percentage of energy increase = 2X percentage of shot count decrease.

So if I increased energy by 10%, would decrease shot count by 20%.

Se the striker spring tension back to where it was originally but left the stroke 1 turn longer.

Results of stroke adjustment (1 turn counter-clockwise):
Velocity (average) went up (using Crosman 7.9s) from 525fps / 4.8 foot pounds to 555fps / 5.4 foot pounds. Thats about a 12% increase in energy. If my estimate is right, it should work out to 24% less 20fps shots in a string. That would predict a string of 83 shots (24% less of 110shots). I got 81 shots, which is close enough to predictions.

BEST PELLETS SO FAR : JSB 8.4GR. AND JSB 10.3GR.

Did not expect the heavier pellet to shoot as well given its 508fps launch speed. Always thought of 10.3gr. pellets as more suited to high speed guns; evidently Im wrong.

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NOT tested for accuracy this time: the 13.4gr. JSB Monsters made it to 478fps for 6.8 foot pounds and the 8.4gr. JSBs made it to 561fps / for 5.8 foot pounds.

Like every PCP tested so far, the average energy of the heavy weight pellets is higher than the light weight pellets. Indicates that there is extra energy in the shot cycle that light weights cant harvest.

This is going to keep me entertained for quite awhile. Already have fast airguns, so no real urge to make this one another. Will keep it at the 5 to 5.5 foot pound area.



 
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