Bear River Boa CO2 BB Pistol Test Review
1 Sept 2016
Purchased anonymously at retail.
Outstanding shot count.
Easy BB loading.
Not an accurate firearm replica.
Short warranty and uncertain support.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM was purchased by HAM Publisher Stephen Archer in our local Walmart store for the princely sum of $26.81. And that’s including NY Sales Tax. This means that the pistol actually was being sold for less than $25.00 before tax!
Our aim was to do what many people do: just walk into Walmart and buy a cheap airgun without really knowing much about it. We wanted to find out what shooting experience they would have as a result. We had never even heard of the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol before. We chose it completely at random as it was cheap and the packaging was pretty (well, maybe).
Frankly, we expected the Boa BB pistol to be – er well, shall we say – poor. Boy were we wrong!!!!
The Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM turned out to be an outstanding shooter, as you’ll see. If we could give it 200% for Value for Money, we would. As it is, it easily deserves its 100% rating in this category.
|HAM Test Rating||70%|
|Value For Money||Great accuracy and shot count. Easy Bb loading.|
|Firearm it Copies||It doesn't.|
|Best BB Tested||ASG Blaster.|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$24.99.|
|Ammo Type||.177 caliber steel BBs.|
|Power Source||1 x 12 Gram CO2 cartridge.|
|Useful Shots per Fill||About 180.|
REALISM – LOOK AND FEEL
The Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol is a “generic”, black CO2 pistol. It’s not a replica of any specific firearm.
Yes, it looks something like a Heckler & Koch P30. But then it also looks rather like a Beretta PX4 – particularly the “slide” molding does. But wait, it also resembles a Walther PPQ…
At a range of anything more than about 10 Feet, it’s doubtful that anyone would be able to tell that the Boa was not a replica of any one of these firearms, or indeed, several other modern semi-auto pistols.
Close-up, you see that there’s no cartridge ejection port. You also see that the sliding safety looks unlike anything you would expect on a firearm. And then you see that the “hammer” is actually molded into the slide and will never, ever operate.
Can you field strip the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol like a firearm? No chance.
Then there’s the feel. Not so good. In a word: “plastic”. Heft is rather lightweight. Once you pick up the Boa, you know it’s not a realistic representation of any firearm currently known to man. The gun tested by HAM weighed just 1 Lb, including the CO2 cartridge.
So the realism score for the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol has to be low, particularly compared to some of the highly sophisticated, superbly-accurate replica BB pistols that are widely available.
But then you remember the price! Twenty-five Bucks. At that price it’s probably realistic enough for most people and really not so bad.
ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT
Overall accuracy for the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol matches or beats any other BB pistol yet tested by HAM. It excelled in delivering very similar accuracy with all of the standard HAM test BBs. Minute of soda can accuracy at 6 yards was no problem at all.
Best accuracy was delivered using the ASG Blaster BBs. But it was a close run thing as the others were so good also! Even at 10 yards, all the BBs except one hit within the soda can. That’s exceptional!
But wait, there’s more…
The point of impact was absolutely dead on with all the BBs tested. And this in spite of the fixed, molded plastic sights. Again – and at the risk of repeating ourselves – this was outstanding performance for the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM.
HAM tester Doug Wall summed it up perfectly in his testing notes. “Very good accuracy with all BBs. Point of impact right on. Probably the most accurate BB pistol tested to date.”
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
ASG Blaster Steel BBs, .177 Cal, 5.4 grains, Speedloader Bottle, 1500ct
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
ASG BLASTER STEEL BBs 1,500 COUNT
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Bear River claims a maximum muzzle velocity of 410 FPS for the Boa. Given that the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM produced average muzzle velocities between 405 and 409 FPS in a cool, 67 degree, range, it’s clear that this specification is fully met. It would certainly be exceeded at higher temperatures.
The Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol is also clearly specified to hold 19 BBs in its magazine. HAM testing found this to be true. (Actually the Bear River website at www.bearriveroutdoors.com gives a capacity of 20 BBs, but this is clearly an error, the packaging and instruction manual are very clear that the correct number is 19 BBs).
There’s no claim made by Bear River for the number of good shots from one CO2 cartridge. But the actual performance is so good that they really should do so…
Consistency of muzzle velocity for the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM was the best we’ve ever seen from a BB pistol!
The average Standard Deviation (measure of shot-to-shot variation) for the 5 test targets shot at 6 Yards was just 2.92 FPS. This is more typical of the consistency we expect from a $1,000 PCP air rifle, not a $25 CO2 pistol.
In fact, the consistency was so outstanding that we’re publishing Doug’s Shootdown test results below here.
What’s particularly impressive is the way that the first shot of every 10-shot string holds up at over 400 FPS until shot 121. That’s equaled by the low drop in muzzle velocity for each string (the difference between the FPS figures in the first and second columns).
The HAM team has never seen anything like this with any BB pistol tested before!
Trigger pull weight was also quite consistent in the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM. This varied by plus or minus 10 Oz from the average figure, which is very consistent for a BB pistol.
REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION
The double action trigger is representative of that on many semi-automatic pistols, with an average pull weight of 6 Lb 14 Oz. HAM tester Doug Wall commented: “The trigger pull is long but very smooth”. Doug also noted one other interesting feature of the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol’s trigger. As the trigger is pulled back – just before the firing point – the trigger “clicks”. If you can hold your pull right there, this allows a final adjustment of aim before pulling through to fire the BB.
But beyond that, it’s back to Earth with a bump! There’s no functioning slide, no blowback, no operating hammer and a very “non-firearms realistic” sliding safety.
Beyond the trigger and safety, the only other functioning control is the magazine release. This works very well, however.
There were zero jams or failures to feed during HAM’s testing of the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol.
In a word: outstanding!
HAM tester Doug Wall recorded 175 shots from one 12 Gram CO2 cartridge before the muzzle velocity fell to 200 FPS. And the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol was still firing beyond that point, just slower…
And this test was run at a range temperature of 66 degrees F which, of course, is low for any CO2 gun.
Yes this is not a blowback pistol, so we expected a good shot count. But it’s possible that users in warmer temperatures wanting to squeeze the absolute last drop out of a CO2 cartridge could see 200 shots before running out of gas! Combined with the very low Standard Deviation (variation in shot-to-shot FPS), this has to indicate that the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol has a very efficiently-designed valve and action.
The Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM gave excellent muzzle velocity, exceeding 400 FPS with all the standard HAM test BBs at a range temperature of 67 degrees F.
|BBs||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Crosman Copperhead 5.13 Grain||406 FPS||1.87 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|Umarex Steel 5.29 Grain||409 FPS||1.97 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|ASG Blaster 5.32 Grain||405 FPS||1.93 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best tested.|
|Hornady Black Diamond 5.36 Grain||407 FPS||1.97 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|Daisy Avanti 5.44 Grain||407 FPS||2.00 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
It’s interesting to see that the muzzle velocity was almost identical with each of the five standard BBs in the HAM test suite. That’s another impressive aspect of the Boa’s extremely consistent performance.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
We’ve already established that the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol is not an accurate replica of any existing firearm. Overall appearance is “plasticky” with all visible parts having the same unrelieved black color.
Compared to some BB-firing firearms replica pistols, this is obviously a low-cost product. But, judged alone, the finish is not at all bad. The plastic moldings are quite well done. The mold lines and seams are present but not too objectionable. And the finish of the magazine – the only accessible metal part – is also quite good.
The sliding pistol grip cover is well-conceived. It works well and also hides the CO2 cartridge piercing knob completely.
BUYING AND OWNING
Buying the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol is easy. Just walk into Walmart! But it’s not easy to find elsewhere and we searched online in vain for any other source that www.bearriveroutdoors.com.
Dangerously, the Bear River Outdoors site refers to the Boa as an airsoft pistol. IT’S NOT! – DON’T SHOOT ANYONE WITH THE BEAR RIVER BOA CO2 BB PISTOL!!!
Yet another outstanding feature of the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol is the BB magazine. This is the best BB magazine the HAM team has ever tested! It’s easy to load and there’s a simple clip that holds the BB follower in place while you do so. This clip is released by bushing the little knob at the end once you’ve loaded the BBs. This is how all BB magazines should be.
The shooting and owning experience is further enhanced by another interesting feature.
With most BB pistols the gun’s report is the same whether a BB is being fired, or you’re firing blanks. The Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol tested by HAM gave a distinctly different audible report between firing a BB and firing a blank. This made it easy to know when the magazine is empty and saved the inevitable waste of gas that occurs with other BB pistols because you keep firing even when the magazine is empty. Again, this is how all BB pistols should be…
The instruction manual for the Bear River Boa CO2 BB pistol is good. Well illustrated, it covers all the important points, although in English only. Interestingly, the manual has a section on “Advanced Maintenance & Disassembly”. This seems to invite the owner to disassemble the gun and – seeing that the Boa is held together with 5 screws rather than the more normal pins – it does look as if a knowledgeable owner could dismantle this BB pistol. Very unusual!
Ah, but then there’s service and support…
Unfortunately there seems to be no way to buy additional magazines.
Warranty is just 30 days from the original purchase date. Both packaging and instructions indicate that support can be found at www.bearriver.net. But that site was inactive whenever HAM tried to access it. So we tried calling the Customer Service telephone number that’s given also. Leave a message , it said, and we’ll get back to you. We’re still waiting for a reply…
But, let’s be realistic with our support expectations. This is a sub-$25.00 BB pistol. If it doesn’t work, just trash it and buy another. The cost of shipping to have it repaired – even if that were possible – likely would be close to the cost of a new gun.
SAFETY FIRST. As with all BB-firing airguns, it’s necessary to wear shooting glasses when firing this airgun. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.
6 YARD TEST TARGETS
10 YARD TEST TARGET
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.