Beeman QB78S Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber
Aug 23, 2017
Supplied by S/R Industries (the Beeman USA importer).
Accurate with lead pellets.
Easy to shoot well.
Heavy bolt action.
Metal finish not the best.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Beeman QB78S air rifle is the latest version of a model with a long history. The basic design goes way back to that of the iconic Crosman 160 of 1955.
So, yes, this is basically a 60+ year old air rifle! It’s still a great gun because – like the Mauser 98 bolt action firearm – it has a winning blend of features and a long, proven history of happy owners.
Of course, as a CO2-powered gun, it’s not a powerhouse. Don’t expect 1,000 FPS, or anywhere like it. But for plinking, target shooting, the Beeman QB78S air rifle has many fans. At a Street Price of $94.99, it’s a great value!
|HAM Test Rating||75%|
|Value For Money||A great start into the world of airgunning!|
|Best For||Plinking, target shooting, training.|
|Best Pellet Tested||RWS Hobby|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$95 + scope|
Easy to Shoot
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Beeman QB78S CO2 Air Rifle
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
SPEED AND ACCURACY
The Beeman QB78S air rifle tested by HAM produced a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 710 FPS with the light Gamo Raptor Platinum alloy pellets in our cool, 65 degree F range. As described below, this would increase naturally to 760 FPS in a temperature of 90 Degrees.
RWS Hobby lead pellets produced a Muzzle Velocity of 645 FPS on test. Likewise, this will increase to 695 FPS at 90 degrees.
Obviously, we were never expecting the Beeman QB78S air rifle to be a powerhouse – it’s not designed for that. However it delivers sufficient power for target shooting and plinking at relatively short ranges – say 30 yards or so – combined with a good number of shots from one fill of CO2.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||710.20 FPS||5.27 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||690.31 FPS||5.89 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||645.01 FPS||6.47 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||630.27 FPS||6.97 Ft/Lbs||OK.|
|JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain||621.36 FPS||7.24 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||623.36 FPS||7.46 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||567.32 FPS||7.61 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
Accuracy was excellent with four out of the five HAM standard test pellets. Surprisingly, best accuracy in this HAM test was produced using the 7.0 Grain RWS Hobby pellets. This is – so far as we can remember – the first time that the Hobbys have taken the top spot for accuracy in HAM test reviews!
The results with alloy pellets gave higher FPS but poor accuracy, as is so often the case in HAM testing…
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
RWS Hobby .177 Cal, 7.0 Grains, Wadcutter, 500ct
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
The Beeman QB78S air rifle tested by HAM had a pleasant average trigger pull weight of 2 Lbs 11 Oz. The trigger is a single-stage unit. Trigger travel is quite long and somewhat rough, although the sear release point is consistent and easily felt. For a sub-$100 air rifle, this could be the best trigger there is!
Although we do not adjust triggers as part of HAM testing, the trigger has setscrew adjustment for pull weight, sear engagement and overtravel. So for those who understand triggers and how to adjust them, there’s a lot of potential with this design. For safety, it’s necessary to remove the stock to gain access to the trigger adjustment screws.
And the trigger blade is metal! This in itself is a great feature that’s not always found in an airgun at this price range.
The manual safety is set in front of the trigger. Forward is safe and back is safe – in this position the safety protrudes inside the trigger guard and so is easy to identify with the trigger finger without looking.
The safety was very hard to engage at first on the Beeman QB78S air rifle tested by HAM. However, it became easier with use.
The straight bolt handle of the Beeman QB78S air rifle is conveniently placed, however operation is quite heavy when pushing forward. This is because the gun uses a cock-on-closing mechanism and pushing forward compresses the hammer spring. It may be too heavy for some youth shooters.
However, this cock-on-closing system makes the Beeman QB78S air rifle ideal for inexperienced shooters. Even without the safety engaged, if the bolt is open the gun is safe and will not fire until the trigger is pulled.
This is an excellent safety feature. Unlike other bolt action airguns with a cock-on-opening action, the Beeman QB78S air rifle is safe until the bolt is pushed fully forward and rotated down into battery.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The manufacturer claims a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 650 FPS for the Beeman QB78S air rifle. Presumably this is for lead pellets, the claim is not specific on this point.
The maximum Muzzle Velocity achieved in HAM testing was 710 FPS with the Gamo Raptor Platinum alloy pellets. With the lightest lead pellets – the 7.0 Grain RWS Hobbys, the test gun achieved 645 FPS. Both these figures were obtained at a range temperature of 65 degrees F.
As with other CO2-powered airguns, the Muzzle Velocity of the Beeman QB78S air rifle increases with ambient temperature by about 2 FPS per degree F. This means that the QB78S air rifle tested by HAM will meet the 650 FPS claim with lead pellets at 68 degrees F.
At higher temperatures, the FPS will continue to rise, reaching a maximum at about 90 degrees F. So, at 90 degrees, the QB78S tested by HAM will achieve 760 FPS with the Gamo PBA pellets and 695 FPS with the Hobbys. Clearly this is significantly higher than the manufacturer’s claims.
CO2 airguns have a generally bad reputation for shot-to-shot consistency. But it has to be said that the shot curve of the Beeman QB78S air rifle is much less extreme than that of most unregulated PCP air rifles!
Yes, it’s true that FPS will drop rapidly if any CO2-powerd airgun is fired rapidly. However, many shooters take their time when shooting, particularly with a single-shot, bolt action like that of the Beeman QB78S air rifle. We fired the QB78S air rifle with a shot-to-shot gap of 30 seconds for this test.
As we can see from the following chart, we obtained 58 “consistent” shots from the Beeman QB78S air rifle. That is, 58 shots at between 600 and 625 FPS from a normal fill of 2 x 12 gram CO2 cartridges. That’s a Standard Deviation (the statistical calculation of shot-to-shot variability) of 6.17 FPS.
This is an excellent number and is a shot curve that is not far behind some regulated PCP air rifles that have been tested by HAM!
The average Standard Deviation recorded in the 10-shot HAM test target strings was just 3.21 FPS. This is an extremely low figure for any air rifle and supports the shot curve displayed above.
Trigger pull weight was also remarkably consistent for an air rifle of this price. As always, we test trigger pull weights “straight from the box” without adjustment. The average pull weight for the Beeman QB78S air rifle tested by HAM was 2 Lbs 11 Oz and it varied by only 2 Ounces at the most. That betters the performance of many more expensive air rifles tested by HAM.
The Beeman QB78S air rifle also gave consistently good – or better – accuracy with lead pellets. Only the Crosman Premier Hollow point pellets were less than excellent and – as we know from HAM pellet testing that these pellets have significant variability in head sizes, it’s possible that we just were unlucky with the pellets we picked from the tin.
The Beeman QB78S air rifle is not fitted with a silencer. This means that there’s no chance of it matching the low noise level of a silenced air gun. However, we have a low power air rifle here and most people would consider the noise level to be pretty backyard-friendly.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Beeman QB78S air rifle comes with iron sights as standard. However these are very much 1950’s style! The rear sight has elevation provided by moving back the ramp. This allows the sight leaf to “catch” in a higher notch and raise the point of impact.
And if you think that’s primitive, just wait for the windage adjustment! This is achieved by loosening the two setscrews holding the sight leaf in place, moving the sight leaf across “by eye” and re-tightening the screws.
Fortunately, the breech of the Beeman QB78S air rifle has dovetail grooves in it for scope rings. If you want to benefit from the accuracy potential of this gun, you really need to mount a scope…
As the manufacturer has not bundled a scope with the Beeman QB78S air rifle, the field is wide open. From experience, HAM recommends that you fit a relatively light weight riflescope. This is a light, compact air rifle and you don’t want to overbalance it with some huge, heavy scope.
For the HAM tests, we mounted a Leapers UTG Bugbuster zoom scope using Medium height airgun rings. This makes a very compact, easy to shoot, combination that maximizes the accuracy potential of the Beeman QB78S air rifle.
The Bugbuster is probably more expensive than most people would spend on a scope to fit the QB78S. It actually costs three Bucks more than the gun! But it does make a good combination in the HAM Team’s opinion…
The Beeman QB78S air rifle is an easy air rifle to shoot. It’s light and points naturally. The trigger is good for the price and consistent, as we have described above.
Unlike all the powerful spring/piston break barrel air rifles at around this price, the Beeman QB78S has no recoil and requires no special hold to shoot accurately. That’s a huge advantage for it in the “around $100, entry level airgun” market, so long as the owner is not intending to use it for hunting.
Some potential purchasers of the QB78 are concerned about accessibility for loading pellets when a scope is fitted. However, there’s actually plenty of space, as you can see below. I find it best to lay a pellet on the flat side of the breech and just roll the pellet across until it drops into the loading tray. At any event, there’s more space for pellet-loading than is found in Crosman bolt action breeches, like that fitted to the Benjamin Discovery and Maximus, for example.
If you’re really concerned about access for loading, a longer scope and high rings open-up things even more, as the photograph below shows.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
Unlike previous versions of the QB78 family, the Beeman QB78S air rifle has a black synthetic, all weather stock. This is crisply molded and has good gripping qualities, particularly around the pistol grip. Mold seams are noticeable but not too obtrusive along the top and bottom of the stock.
There’s also a ventilated rubber buttpad, again with a rather prominent mold seam.
The blued finish on metal parts is thin and is spoiled on the test gun by a couple of scratches on the air tube which are visible in close-up photographs above. Overall finish is adequate, but not great for a sub-$100 air rifle.
Appearance is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. While there are many who like the all black look of the Beeman QB78S air rifle, there’s also a similar version available – the QB78 Deluxe – which has a stylish wood stock, gold bolt handle and trigger blade plus improved fiber optic sights. For the HAM team’s money, this is the more attractive choice, but it’s your call!
BUYING AND OWNING
The Beeman QB78S air rifle is available online from the major Internet dealers like Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot. However, it is finding favor in more and more “big box” sporting goods stores. This makes it much more likely that it will be available locally in your area.
Like all QB78-family air rifles (and the Crosman 160), the Beeman QB78S air rifle is powered by two 12 Gram CO2 cartridges. These are inserted back-to-back, as shown above. Then the tube cap is tightened down. When the trigger is pulled, the CO2 cartridges are pierced and the gun is “live”.
It’s a good idea to add a drop of Crosman Pellgun Oil to the flat end of the inside cartridge about every 500 shots. More is not better! This will help keep the internal seals in good condition and help prevent leaks.
If you just want to shoot a few shots, then you can load one full 12 Gram cartridge facing into the QB78, with an empty, used one facing out. This will give the same Muzzle Velocity, but half the number of shots.
One pain however, is that after the CO2 pressure starts to fall, the Beeman QB78S air rifle needs to be dry fired to remove the remaining CO2 before loading new cartridges. There’s no de-gassing feature built-in to the gun, which is a shame.
In keeping with the black, tactical, all weather look is the short Weaver/Picatinny rail on the underside of the forend. This can be used to mount a bipod, laser or lamp to aid in shooting.
Overall packaging is quite good and better than many guns in this price range. There’s a larger amount of foam blocking to prevent the Beeman QB78S air rifle moving around in transit – a useful feature that helps ensure your gun will arrive in good shape, in spite of the best (?) efforts of the carrier.
The instruction manual is fairly comprehensive, although in English only.
The Beeman QB78S air rifle has the expected 12-month warranty. This is honored in the USA by S/R Industries, the Beeman importer and distributor.
Finally, the Beeman QB78S air rifle is the Ruger 10/22 of the airgun world. It’s a small, light, cheap gun that has a load of fans and a vast array of upgrades and accessories available out there. It’s incredibly customizeable and has been the starting point for many amateur (and professional!) airgunsmiths, due to its simple, intuitive design.
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Beeman QB78S CO2 Air Rifle
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
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.