Beeman Longhorn Air Rifle Test Review .177 Cal
April 29, 2016
Beeman Precision Airguns
Accurate with most pellets.
Poor bundled scope.
Trigger could be lighter.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Beeman Longhorn air rifle is a new model and, thus not yet widely available. The Street Price is expected to be in the $130 range. It’s a very competitive air rifle with a solid feel and solid performance at the price.
As with most of its competitors, the Longhorn uses a traditional spring/piston powerplant – no gas ram here – but this shouldn’t put off buyers. Again like competitors, the bundled 4 x 32 scope is marginal, but what else do you reasonably expect for this price range?
What the Longhorn offers is strong performance. With the accuracy and power demonstrated in the HAM tests, the Beeman Longhorn air rifle will be a strong contender for hunting pests and small game. Used with the right pellets, it can really shine.
If you are prepared to splash out for a superior scope with AO and a Mil Dot reticle, your shooting experience with the Longhorn will be transformed and would reach a very good level indeed.
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SPEED AND ACCURACY
The maximum muzzle velocity attained by the Beeman Longhorn air rifle tested by HAM was 1,201.80 FPS. This was achieved with 5.56 Grain H&N Field target Trophy Green, alloy, pellets.
The highest muzzle velocity with lead pellets was 1,075.29 FPS, which was attained with – of course – the 7.0 Grain H&N Hobby pellets.
These numbers put the Beeman Longhorn air rifle well into the “1,000 FPS+ springer” performance range.
Although muzzle velocity obviously falls with increasing pellet weight, Muzzle Energy (an indication of the actual impact of the pallet) was remarkably constant for a spring/piston air rifle at between 17.5 and 18 Ft/Lbs for the majority of the standard HAM test pellets.
Accuracy results for the Beeman Longhorn air rifle were somewhat variable. The HAM test gun clearly did not like the Gamo Raptor Platinum PBA pellets, or the H&N Hobby pellets. But this trait is common to many of the airguns tested by HAM. It’s a reminder that higher muzzle velocities are not necessarily achieved by those pellets that deliver the greatest accuracy.
However the Beeman Longhorn air rifle tested by HAM demonstrated very good accuracy, or better, with all the other pellets tested.
In fact, the group achieved by the Longhorn firing H&N Field Target Trophy Green alloy pellets was outstanding. And this was combined with the highest muzzle velocity achieved on test. That’s a combination I believe we’ve never encountered before in HAM testing.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||1180.23 FPS||14.53 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||1201.80 FPS||17.82 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grains||1075.29 FPS||17.96 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.90 Grain||1007.86 FPS||17.81 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain||903.84 FPS||15.30 Ft/Lbs||Very good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||950.77 FPS||17.33 Ft/Lbs||Very good.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||864.99 FPS||17.68 Ft/Lbs||Very good.|
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H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets, .177 caliber
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H&N FIELD TARGET TROPHY GREEN PELLETS
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
Let’s start this section with HAM Tester Paul Manktelow’s comments. “The Longhorn’s trigger is not a target trigger, but it’s fine as a hunter/plinker. It’s what I’d call a bump and click trigger”
Trigger pull weight of the tested by HAM averaged 4 Lbs 6 Ozs.
Trigger pull is long. The first stage is light and pulls back through the first stage until it reaches a definite resistance. That’s the “bump” in Paul’s description. Pulling against that second stage resistance releases the sear immediately. That’s Paul’s “click”. As he says, this is not a target-grade trigger, but it is fine for hunting and general plinking use by most shooters.
The automatic safety is located directly ahead of the trigger inside the trigger guard. It pulls back for safe and pushes forward for “fire”. As always, the HAM team much prefers a manual safety, but it looks as if most manufacturers don’t agree with us.
Cocking effort for the Beeman Longhorn air rifle is, as expected, fairly high at a measured 36 Lbs. Obtaining the Longhorn’s power level is never going to be achieved without some muscle input during cocking!
Paul Manktelow found that “cocking was gritty at first, but became less noticeable with use”. As usual, slapping the top of the barrel breaks the ball-type lock-up system so that the barrel can be drawn down to compress the mainspring and cock the action.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The main marketing claim made by the manufacturer for the Beeman Longhorn air rifle is that the maximum muzzle velocity is 1,200 FPS. The Longhorn tested by HAM hit that number right on the nose with 1,201.80 FPS!
But there is another claim made for the Longhorn, and it’s an unusual one. Beeman Precision Airguns is one of the very few airgun brands brave enough to provide an accuracy specification for their air rifles. In the case of the Beeman Longhorn air rifle the claimed accuracy specification is “C-T-C .20-in at 10 Meters” C-T-C means “Center to Center”. 10 meters is 33 feet.
Now the manufacturer does not say how many shots are included in that group, but it’s almost certainly five. As group sizes inevitably increase with the number of shots in the group, the 10-shot groups generated in the HAM tests would naturally be expected to have a larger CTC, slightly offset by the 10% reduction in range: 30 feet instead of 33.
Given this, it’s fair to say that the Beeman Longhorn air rifle tested by HAM matched the manufacturer’s accuracy claim. And with the same pellets that achieved the maximum muzzle velocity. That’s an unique performance for any air rifle tested to date by HAM!
So does the Beeman Longhorn air rifle meet the manufacturer’s claims. It sure does!
Although not a high-priced air rifle, the Beeman Longhorn demonstrated a surprisingly high level of consistency.
Muzzle Energy did not demonstrate the general tendency of spring/piston air rifles to fall with heavier pellets. Indeed, with the exception of the lightest Gamo PBA and – for some reason – the mid-weight JSB pellets, Muzzle Energy was held with unusual consistency to between 17.33 and 17.96 Ft/Lbs.
Standard Deviation, the measure of shot-to-shot consistency with pellets was also held to below 10 FPS with all the pellets in the standard HAM test suite, except for the Gamo Platinums. Again, that’s a good level of consistency.
And the trigger pull of the Beeman Longhorn air rifle proved to be quite consistent, too. It varied by a maximum of 9 Ounces around the 4 Lb 6 Ounce average.
The Beeman Longhorn air rifle is not fitted with a silencer. This means that it’s never going to be a quiet air rifle. Noise level was therefore fairly high – about average for a spring/piston air rifle of this power.
But, of course, once pellets are fired faster than the Speed of Sound (about 1,100 FPS) – as they are with the lightweight alloy pellets tested – the report is very loud. This is not a knock against the Longhorn. Pellets traveling faster than the Speed of Sound will be loud, however quiet the gun itself may be. This is a fact that applies to every air rifle firing pellets at 1,100 FPS and faster.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
A set of fiber optic iron sights are fitted to the Beeman Longhorn air rifle. These are fairly conventional, with a windage- and elevation-adjustable rear sight. The front sight is particularly well protected with a substantial spring steel cover.
But of course, most people will choose to fit a scope to the Longhorn for practical shooting.
The 4 x 32 scope bundled with the Beeman Longhorn air rifle is a very typical low cost scope. It’s similar to that supplied with almost every other air rifle in the lower price ranges. It has a simple, Duplex reticle and requires a tool – screwdriver or coin – to adjust the elevation and windage turrets.
Image quality is average at 20 yards or so. That’s to say “OK-ish”. But it’s very fuzzy at close ranges around 10 yards due to the lack of Adjustable Objective (AO) capability.
And – again as usual – the bundled rings are not very substantial. HAM Tester Paul Manktelow commented that “These scope rings are not up to the harsh recoil of the Longhorn” and the rest of the team agrees with him.
So can the bundled scope be used? Yes. But would you be far better served, and achieve better practical accuracy, with a superior quality replacement with one-piece mounts, AO and a Mil Dot reticle? Absolutely!
The Beeman Longhorn air rifle definitely calls out for a scope upgrade to achieve it’s potential.
Yet there is good news. The factory has fitted a very substantial, external, scope stop to the Longhorn. This would be a good partner for the upgraded scope and mount we encourage any owner to fit.
The Beeman Longhorn air rifle’s stock is somewhat of a polarizing feature. Some folk like the grip provided by thumbhole stocks: others don’t. That was the case with the HAM team, too.
Overall, the stock design was felt to be good and practical if you like thumbholes. It makes the gun easy to grasp, particularly in wet and/or slippery conditions as might be encountered when hunting. With a pull length of 14.5 inches, this is a full-size air rifle and may feel long to some shorter shooters. The rubber butt pad seemed very grippy against clothing, so again, it will be unlikely to slip in inclement conditions.
The Longhorn is somewhat more muzzle heavy than many break barrel, spring/piston air rifles. But this may not necessarily be a bad situation for many shooters.
But be prepared for harsh, jumpy recoil! The Beeman Longhorn is a powerful air rifle and it lets you know that every time it fires. This makes it more of a hunting tool for an average-to larger size shooter than an all-day plinker for the whole family.
Like almost all 1000+ FPS spring/piston air rifles, the Longhorn requires skill and experience from the shooter for accurate shooting. Use of the loose “Artilley Hold” is mandatory and a tight grasp on the gun will destroy the accuracy of which it is capable.
This need for experience to achieve the best from the Longhorn is reflected in its high RateAGun scope of 9.6.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
If you – like may these days – like the look of black air rifles, particularly those with a thumbhole stock – the appearance of the Longhorn will appeal. (If not, Beeman has plenty of traditionally-styled wood stock models available in their range).
Metal finish is generally good and the bluing smooth and even. This is not a deep, mirror finish that you find on more expensive guns, but it’s to the expected standards in this price range.
The black synthetic stock is sharply designed and the molding is generally good. The only letdown is the presence of somewhat raised seams from the molding process. The rubber buttpad is ventilated to break some of the recoil and it looks good, too.
BUYING AND OWNING
While the Longhorn is a new model and, thus, not widely available, HAM expects that it will be found widely available in the usual online and “bricks and mortar” stores selling Beeman air rifles.
Warranty is the traditional 12 months from date of purchase. If there’s a problem with the gun, you’ll need to send it to the US importers in California. There’s no pre-payment required for return shipping, this is good.
Parts availability is not widely advertised, but the US distributor* does have parts available if you telephone them.
The instruction manual is comprehensive and well-illustrated. There’s also a separate sheet that gives advice for scope mounting. And it even includes information on how to hold the gun correctly – although you have to search for it. (It’s on page 8, the Troubleshooting section, under point 2 Not Using Special Shooting Techniques). The only real downside to this manual is that it’s available in English only.
The good accuracy and muzzle energy demonstrated by the Beeman Longhorn air rifle when used with Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets is a very useful feature. As these Crosman pellets are available almost everywhere, at your local Walmart for example, this means that good, low cost shooting is within your grasp.
One critical ownership step with the Beeman Longhorn – as it is with most other high power break barrel air rifles – is that you should check the tightness of the stock screws and scope mounting screws frequently. The harsh recoil generated by the Longhorn will tend to shake these screws loose with time. And loose screws are a common cause of inaccuracy that “just happened” with no apparent cause.
* Note that the Beeman brand is used – and has been for several years – for two distinctly different ranges of airguns. Each range is manufactured in different countries and has different US importers. Beeman Sportsman Series air rifles, such as the Longhorn tested here, are manufactured in China and distributed in the USA by S/R Industries of Santa Fe Springs, CA. Higher end Beeman airguns are manufactured in Germany and distributed in the USA by Pyramyd Air of Solon, OH. It’s important to understand this in the unlikely event that warranty support is required for your Beeman airgun.
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BEEMAN LONGHORN 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.