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Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle
Test Review .177 Cal.

Overview
Testers

Paul Manktelow

Caliber

.177

Model Number

B1288

Test Date

July 29 2014

Serial Numbers

181306281145

Source of Supply

Purchased anonymously at retail.

Condition

As new.

We Like

Huge value for money!
Strong muzzle velocity.
Weaver scope rail.

We Don't Like

Why's the scope mounted so high?
Fake bolt handle and case ejection slot.
Only a 30 day warranty.

HAM Rating
Value for Money
100%
Speed and Accuracy
80%
Trigger and Cocking Effort
70%
Comparison to Makers Claims
100%
Consistency
90%
Noise Level
60%
Sights
50%
Shootability
50%
Appearance and Finish
80%
Buying and Owning
40%
Hard Air Magazine Test Conclusions

NOTE THAT THIS MODEL HAS RECENTLY BEEN REPLACED BY AN IDENTICAL LOOKING VERSION WITH GAS RAM POWER PLANT. MANY OF THE COMMENTS ALSO APPLY TO THE NEW VERSION. THE "BUY" LINKS ARE TO THE NEW VERSION.

Bear River International, the creators of the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle, are pretty well unknown in the airgun world. At least until now! They sell a number of airsoft guns, but this is their first airgun product.

Don't be put off by this. The Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle tested by HAM gave excellent accuracy, high muzzle velocity and and a huge number of features unmatched by any air rifle currently available from any of the more established manufacturers.

The styling is polarizing - we don't like it - but HAM is guessing that there's many, many folk out there who do. A huge number of Black Ops Sniper Rifles are being sold and we can understand why.

For its combination of quality, usability, value and performance, the Black Ops Sniper air rifle receives a HAM Gold Award.
A RateAGun score of 9.4 means that this air rifle requires experience and skill to shoot to its potential. Knowledge of the "Artillery Hold" and a lot of practice will come in useful here.

Just be aware of the minimal - 30 day - warranty period offered by Black Ops. But if your gun shoots the way ours does, you probably won't be needing that coverage.

76%
HAM Rating
You have rated this
Full Review
HAM Test Rating76%
Value For MoneyOutstanding!
Best ForPlinking and hunting small critters
Best Pellet TestedJSB Exact
Street Price at Time of Test$150
Caliber Tested.177
RateAGun Score
Experience Required
BUY FROM AMAZON
Black Ops Tactical Sniper Air Rifle Combo air rifle
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle

VALUE FOR MONEY

There’s no doubt about this. At the Street Price, the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle offers an incredible value for money!

There’s so many features included with this air rifle that it’s tough even to list them all – and many are either not available at all with competitive products, or – if they are – add a significant premium to the price.

There’s an adjustable cheek piece; buttstock with length adjustment; an adjustable, soft rubber buttpad; a molded soft rubber pistol grip cover; Weaver/Picatinny style scope rails; a split leg, adjustable length bipod that attaches to short Weaver/Picatinny rails on the forend; a storage compartment in the “magazine” plus, of course, the obligatory 4 x 32 scope.

Such great flexibility in stock configuration normally is the preserve only of much more expensive air rifles. And the bipod alone would carry a value of at least $25.00 if sold separately.

HAM can do without the fake bolt handle and “case ejection slot” (even more because the case ejection slot does not match the size you would expect from looking at the fake magazine). But our guess is that the Bear River International people know exactly what they are doing with this product and that their target market will value these features as well, even if we don’t.

Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle test review HAM

Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle test review HAM

SPEED AND ACCURACY

The Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle tested by HAM performed very strongly for an air rifle of this type and price.

The maximum average muzzle velocity of nearly 1200 fps was obtained with lightweight alloy pellets, as expected. But RWS Hobby lead pellets turned in a muzzle velocity averaging 1040 fps and the average muzzle velocity with mid weight Crosman Premier HP pellets came close to the magic 1000 fps mark at a very creditable 993 fps.

Muzzle energy peaks at 17.55 ft/lbs, that’s a very strong for a nominally “1000 fps” air rifle and makes the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle good for hunting small critters, as many of its buyers will probably want to do.

PelletAverage Muzzle VelocityAverage Muzzle EnergyAccuracy
Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain1192.47 FPS14.83 Ft/LbsOK.
H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain1192.61 FPS17.55 Ft/LbsGood.
RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain1040.47 FPS16.82 Ft/LbsGood.
Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain993.57 FPS17.31 Ft/LbsExcellent.
JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain905.41 FPS15.35 Ft/LbsBest Tested.
H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain945.35 FPS17.14 Ft/LbsOK.
H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain830.81 FPS16.31 Ft/LbsGood.

Best accuracy was obtained with JSB Exact pellets. That’s becoming somewhat typical with the air rifles tested to date by HAM.

But probably more important is the excellent accuracy achieved when shooting Crosman Premier HP pellets. Let’s be honest, a huge proportion of the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifles sold at retail are flying off of the shelves from big box stores across the US. And many big box shoppers will pick up a tin of those Crosman Premier HPs that just happen to be on a shelf very nearby in the store. Fortunately, that happens to be a great combination!

As you’ll see from a close examination of the HAM test targets, there’s just a slight tendency to horizontal stringing. However, this will probably not be a significant issue for most buyers.

BUY FROM AMAZON
JSB Diabolo EXACT .177 Caliber Air Gun Pellets
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
JSB Match Diablo Exact pellets, .177 caliber

TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT

The trigger has a long, heavy pull. HAM measured an average of 4 lb 8 oz, which is fairly typical for a trigger of this general design when used on a high power spring/piston air rifle. However this is offset somewhat by a clean, consistent break and the consistent pull weights shown in the HAM test.

HAM measured the cocking effort at 35lbs. This is about average for this type of air rifle. HAM tester Paul Manktelow commented that he found the gun quite easy to cock.

COMPARISON TO MAKER’S CLAIMS

The wording on the retail box claims a maximum muzzle velocity of 1000 fps. On Bear River’s website, the muzzle velocity is claimed at 1200 fps. But either way, the Black Ops Sniper Rifle delivers on the maker’s claims!

The gun tested by HAM produced an average muzzle velocity with alloy pellets of 1192 fps – that’s incredibly close to the 1200 fps claimed on the website.

The claim on the retail box is 1000 fps, with no pellet type being specified. Obviously that 1192 fps far exceeds the claim printed on the box, and so does the 1040 fps achieved with RWS Hobby lead pellets. Even the 993 fps average muzzle velocity HAM found with mid-weight Crosman Premier HP pellets very closely matched the 1000 fps box claim. That’s what most airgunners expect from this type of claim and the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle really delivers.

There’s another claim made on the box. It’s “Pinpoint Accuracy”. Hmmmm, what does that mean?

A close reading of the instruction manual gives an accuracy claim of “0.20 inches CTC at 10 metres”. Now that claim does not include the number of shots fired, but we know that the manufacturer gives this specification relating to a 5 shot group. HAM’s best group of 0.25-inches at 10 yards with 10 shots using JSB Exact pellets – and when shot by Paul Manktelow, who is an expert shot with spring/piston air rifles – clearly equals or surpasses that claim, as a 10 shot group will always be larger than a 5 shot group under the same circumstances.

So the HAM test results indicate that the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle handily exceeds the claims made for its performance.

CONSISTENCY

Consistency for the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle tested by HAM was very good.

First off, the tested gun is not pellet picky. Although JSBs were the most accurate under test, all the HAM standard test pellets achieved groups that would probably satisfy the target market for this air rifle. This is important for an air rifle that’s almost certainly aimed at the “non airgun expert” target market.

Standard Deviation – the variation in muzzle velocity between pellets of the same type in the test string – was typically in the 6 – 7 fps range, which is well controlled for a spring/piston air rifle.

The trigger also demonstrated good consistency, with pull weights varying by only a maximum of 9 oz (max. 4 lb 14 oz, min. 4 lb 5 oz) around the four and a half pound average.

NOISE LEVEL

Subjectively, the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle tested by HAM has about average noise level for an air rifle of its power. But note that it can become LOUD when using alloy pellets at above about 1100 fps as the pellets exceed the speed of sound and give a sonic boom. In this case, the Black Ops sound more like a .22LR firearm. This is not a criticism of this gun, but a fact of life for any air rifle shooting faster than the speed of sound.

You see that funny long tube thing at the front of the barrel? It’s NOT a silencer or noise reduction device, but I bet lots of customers would like to think it was.

SIGHTS AND SCOPE

There’s some surprises here!

The Black Ops is fitted with a generic Chinese-manufactured 4 x 32 scope with a basic duplex reticle. There’s no AO (Adjustable Objective) for close focusing, nor are there any mil-dots – essential for any serious field work with an airgun.

The scope bundled with this gun focused acceptably at 10 yards range. Optical quality is OK, not outstanding. What else would you reasonably expect at this price?

The scope itself is mounted on high, see through Weaver rings. The use of Weaver/Picatinny rings and rail is great. This really stops scope creep when firing. HAM believes that the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle is by far the lowest-priced air rifle currently fitted with Weaver rings and Bear River International deserves due credit for this.

No iron sights are fitted to this air rifle. HAM doesn’t see that as a disadvantage as most airgunners use a scope, even though it has to be mounted to the gun by the owner before use. So in that case, why use very high mount see-through rings? The rings supplied are very unsuitable as they force the shooter’s eyeline to be very high above the barrel for no reason.

And yes that stock has an adjustable cheekpiece, but it doesn’t compensate for the height of the mount. A much lower (medium height) set of Weaver/Picatinny rings would be a much better choice and would make the gun easier to shoot.

SHOOTABILITY

With a RateAGun score of 9.4, the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle requires skill and experience to shoot accurately.

Most buyers of this air rifle probably won’t know that intuitively. But the excellent operator’s guide packed with this air rifle does try to explain this in the Troubleshooting Guide section on page 10 – if the average user actually reads that far through it!

The loose, “Artillery Hold”, together with a lot of practice, is required to achieve the accuracy that this air rifle is capable of. This is not easy or intuitive for most shooters but is a comment that applies to the overwhelming majority of powerful spring/piston and gas ram air rifles, not just this Black Ops gun.

The multi-adjustable stock makes it easy to achieve a good pull length and the right view through the scope.

As for the bipod, we’d leave that off and concentrate on the Artillery Hold for accuracy. Even though the gun is big and bulky.

APPEARANCE AND FINISH

This air rifle feels big and looks even bigger! But that impression is somewhat deceptive. The Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle is actually no longer than most comparable air rifles, although the fake magazine, vertical pistol grip and super high scope placement give a considerable bulk to the side view.

The appearance of this air rifle is polarizing, most people either love it or hate it. Take your pick!

Quality of finish is good. Bluing of the barrel is deep and strong for this price level and the large number of molded synthetic parts comprising the stock appear to be well made with few intrusive mold lines.

BUYING AND OWNING

The Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle comes superbly packaged in a beautiful retail box. That means that shipping damage – before it reaches the owner – should be minimized.

It also has a comprehensive and useful instruction manual that is a model of what other manufacturers should strive to achieve.

But, but, but…

The warranty period is just 30 days – yes just thirty days – you read that correctly! Although Bear River International will pay return shipping on warranty returns (that’s good), HAM feels it’s important that buyers understand how very limited this warranty period is compared to the 12 months standard in the airgun industry – and even 24 months from Stoeger Airguns.

There’s no official availability of spare parts for the Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle, but some knowledgeable owners will recognize the similarity of this air rifle to other models from the same Chinese factory. And replacement breech seals – for example – are available from at least one third party supplier. (Full disclosure, it’s Archer Airguns).

TEST TARGETS

Test Target Black Ops Sniper Rifle Gamo Platinum pellets HAM

Test Target Black Ops Sniper Rifle H&N FTT Green pellets HAM

Test Target Black Ops Sniper Rifle RWS Hobby pellets HAM

Test Target Black Ops Sniper Rifle Crosman Premier HP pellets HAM

Test Target Black Ops Sniper Rifle JSB Exact pellets HAM

Test Target Black Ops Sniper Rifle H&N Field Target Trophy pellets HAM

Test Target Black Ops Sniper Rifle H&N Baracuda pellets HAM

BUY FROM AMAZON
Black Ops Tactical Sniper Air Rifle Combo air rifle
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Black Ops Sniper Air Rifle

This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.