Beeman R9 Elite Combo Air Rifle
Test Review .177 Cal
19 October 2014
Supplied by Pyramyd Air.
No mil dots in the bundled scope.
Nothing else. Really!
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Beeman R9 Elite Series Combo
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Beeman R9 air rifle tested by Hard Air Magazine was an R9 Elite Series Combo. It arrived with the scope pre-mounted and sighted-in, together with a “10 for $10” Test Certificate by Pyramyd Airguns. The Street Price for this configuration is $570.
For the accuracy and overall quality of this German-made air rifle, HAM considers this a very fair price. Yes, it’s not cheap, but real quality never is and the Beeman R9 can stand comparison with other air rifles selling for hundreds of Dollars more.
SPEED AND ACCURACY
Spectacular! That’s the only word to describe the accuracy of the Beeman R9 Elite Series Combo tested by HAM.
Just about any of the HAM standard test pellets produced genuine one hole groups. Only the RWS Hobby pellets showed any kind of spread – and even this would qualify for a “best tested” rating with many other airguns.
Best of the best performance was achieved using H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain pellets.
HAM tester Paul Manktelow’s comment on the accuracy of the Beeman R9 was “I think this R9 could really give my TX200 a run for the money at any field target match.” High praise indeed.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||1099.35 FPS||12.61 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||1052.39 FPS||13.67 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||906.29 FPS||12.76 Ft/Lbs||Very good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||889.19 FPS||13.86 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain||859.59 FPS||13.84 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||857.15 FPS||14.09 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best tested.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||744.13 FPS||13.09 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
Muzzle velocity peaked at just about 1,100 FPS with Gamo Platinum PBA (alloy) pellets. The highest muzzle velocity obtained with lead pellets was 906 FPS with RWS Hobby pellets.
With medium weight lead pellets in the approximately 8 to 8.5 Grain range, (Crosman Premier HP, JSB Exact Diabalo and H&N Field Target trophy) the muzzle velocity was between about 860 and 890 FPS. Muzzle energy for the Beeman R9 tested by HAM averaged 13.53 Ft/Lbs, with the peak of around 14 Ft/Lbs being achieved with the same three pellet types. The R9 is clearly optimized for pellets in this weight range.
This performance may not excite the “speed at all costs” brigade, but it’s just about perfect for serious, accurate target shooting. It’s also sufficient for hunting pests and small game at reasonable ranges.
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TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
Trigger pull weight for the Beeman R9 averaged 2lb 12oz as tested, out of the box. The two-stage Rekord trigger was incredibly smooth and the let off near perfect. Obviously we could have adjusted the trigger using that prominent, enticing gold screw just behind the trigger blade but – in accordance with HAM test protocols, we resisted temptation and left it “as issued”.
The R9’s Rekord trigger provided very predictable firing. There’s no creep and the second stage is short and direct. This is a very nice trigger!
Paul Manktelow’s testing notes read “the trigger and cocking is so smooth, I didn’t even notice or think about it!”
Cocking effort of the Beeman R9 air rifle tested by HAM measured 35 Lbs. Our subjective opinion is that it felt even easier than that due to the smoothness of the cocking action. And this is in spite of the relatively short barrel.
The substantial steel muzzle weight is easy to grasp for cocking (and undoubtedly enhances the accuracy by moderating barrel harmonics when the gun is fired). There’s none of the grinding sound that often accompanies cocking a break barrel air rifle and the barrel locks up satisfyingly “into battery” with the chisel-type locking system.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The US importers – Air Venturi – claim a maximum muzzle velocity for 935 FPS for the Beeman R9. The test target supplied with the gun (produced by Pyramyd Air Lead Tech Gene Salvino) showed that this gun averaged 939.67 FPS with 7.1 Grain Beeman Laser lead pellets.
That’s right on target for the claimed muzzle velocity!
Using the standard HAM test pellets, we couldn’t quite equal this performance. The RWS Hobby lead pellets achieved an average of 906.29 FPS.
However, HAM testes did produce a maximum average muzzle velocity of 1,099.35 FPS with Gamo Platinum PBA lead pellets. Of course, this comfortably exceeds the importer’s claim, although there are many shooters who would not be happy regularly firing such light weight pellets in their R9.
The Beeman R9 tested by HAM had a cocking effort of 35 Lbs. This compares well with the claimed cocking effort of 40 Lbs.
Pyramyd Air’s website also carries an accuracy claim of “0.15-in CTC” for the .177 caliber R9. This claim relates to a 5-shot group at 10 yards. CTC – that is Center To Centre – accuracy measurements always vary according to range and number of shots fired in the string. Obviously longer ranges and larger numbers of shots automatically increase the CTC measurement for the group.
The HAM accuracy tests are conducted with 10-shot strings at 10 yards. So, HAM groups would automatically be expected to be larger than the Pyramyd CTC specs. The best accuracy achieved in the HAM tests was 1/8-inch (0.125-inch) CTC for 10 shots. We’d say that the tested accuracy obtained by HAM matched Pyramyd’s claims for the Beeman R9.
Consistency is a strong suit for the Beeman R9.
This is shown by it’s very pellet tolerant nature. It shoots all the standard HAM test pellets very well or better. And you will notice from HAM’s test targets that the point of impact on the target is remarkably uniform, with only the RWS Hobby pellets straying a little outside of the bull. Compare this to the test targets from other air rifles and you’ll see a significant difference, in many cases. (Note that HAM test targets are all shot with the scope set to the same point of aim and is not re-sighted for each different pellet type).
This outstanding pellet tolerance is a very significant aspect of consistency as it means that you can expect great accuracy from a Beeman R9 using almost any type of pellet.
Trigger pull weight consistency was fairly good, with the average pull weight of 2 lb 12 oz varying by up to about half a pound either way – a variation that was not perceptible to the shooter.
Standard Deviation (the measure of shot-to-shot muzzle velocity variation) is OK. The best was the outstanding 2.44 FPS achieved with the H&N Field Target Trophy pellets, although figures in the 5 – 10 FPS range were more typical. Most unusual was the high, 24.20 FPS Standard Deviation for the RWS Hobby pellets, whereas the Standard Deviation for the Gamo Platinum PBA pellets was much lower than we usually find in HAM tests at 10.39 FPS.
The Beeman R9 is not equipped with a silencer or shroud. However, the noise level produced when shooting is quiet for a spring/piston gun of this power level. There’s no piston twang, just a nice solid “thunk” when the gun is fired.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
There are no iron sights. The Beeman R9 is designed to be shot with a scope only.
The Beeman R9 Elite Series Combo tested by HAM includes a bundled Bushnell 4-12 x40AO scope. This scope gives a clear and sharp image at all magnifications, with a high contrast that makes target acquisition easy. The duplex reticle is very sharp too.
This scope performs well and is a great fit for the R9, it’s not so big and heavy as to overbalance the gun. The only fault HAM can find is that the bundled Bushnell scope doesn’t have a mil-dot reticle. This means that it’s good for shooting at fixed ranges (targets, for example), but doesn’t have the immediate “hold over” capability that’s essential for use in Field Target shooting.
HAM has marked down the R9’s score in this section of the review due to the scope’s lack of mil dots, which we feel are essential for serious field shooting with any airgun.
If you agree with us about the need for a mil dot scope, there’s a simple solution, however. The Beeman R9 is also available with no scope in “non Combo” form and you can then select a suitable mil dot-equipped scope from Pyramyd’s vast range (a Hawke scope would be a great choice, hint, hint).
Equipped with an appropriate mil dot scope, the Beeman R9 air rifle would be a great choice for Field Target competition.
The Beeman R9 is light, feels compact and is easy to handle. It just feels natural to hold and target acquisition comes very easily.
Combining this with the sharp, clear scope, the likable trigger, outstanding accuracy and relatively easy cocking, the Beeman R9 scores highly for shootability.
The ambidextrous stock gives a comfortable cheek weld, a key attribute for consistent, accurate shooting.
Unlike some cheaper air rifles, it’s very easy to load pellets into the barrel. All the pellets tested by HAM seated easily, yet did not fall down into the barrel. Some air rifles leave a hole in your thumb from the amount of pressure required to seal a pellet in the barrel – this is NOT one of them!
In HAM testing, the Beeman R9 certainly benefits from being shot using the light “Artillery Hold”, as you would expect for any spring/piston air rifle of this power level. But this is not an absolute requirement for decent shooting. The R9 is quite hold-tolerant and this makes it an easy springer to shoot well for newcomers to the gentle art of mastering a spring/piston air rifle.
As you could expect, the Beeman R9 Elite Scope Combo’s RateAGun score is 7.9. This is quite low for a break barrel air rifle of this power.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The Beeman R9 is a beautiful air rifle! It’s a simple, traditional design with a minimum of bells and whistles. The HAM team enjoyed just looking at its harmonious proportions…
Bluing of metal parts is deep and even. There are no finish machining marks on the metal. The ambidextrous beech stock is smooth and the checkering extremely well executed.
Complete perfection would have been achieved if the test gun just had a little more figuring and character in the wood – as we have seen on other examples of this marque. And the finish to the wood is so smooth that it’s almost slippery to handle. But now we’re being really picky!
HAM tester Paul Manktelow commented “I can see this air rifle becoming a family heirloom in many cases.” Yes, it looks that good to the HAM team!
BUYING AND OWNING
You won’t find the Beeman R9 available at your local “big box” sporting goods store. Online is the way to go – it’s available directly from Pyramyd Air. This means that most people will not have seen an R9 before they buy one, unless they have a friend who’s lucky enough to own one already, that is. But don’t let this stop you…
Air Venturi provides an outstanding free lifetime repair warranty policy for the Beeman R9 to the original owner (so long as spare parts remain available and a copy of the original sales receipt is presented) with service, if required, by factory-trained repair staff. Air Venturi also maintains a supply of genuine factory spare parts for the Beeman R9 and other German-made Beeman air rifles. Seals and mainspring are covered by warranty for one year for defects in materials or workmanship.
This gives a very secure feeling of long-term reliability to any owner.
HAM did feel that the Owner’s Manual provided with the gun was very “thin”. There’s minimal real information but plenty of warnings, “dos” and “don’ts”. HAM agrees that the R9 is a simple, intuitive air rifle to shoot, but there are features such as the ability to safely decock the gun (break the barrel with the safety depressed and trigger pulled at the same time) that are missing entirely from this manual and that’s a little disappointing.
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Beeman R9 Elite Series Combo
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.