by Tom Gaylord | View Source
Black rifles have something in common—a pistol grip for the firing hand. For many shooters, it’s impossible to look at that grip and not imagine what the gun would be like if it were a pistol instead of a rifle. We know that the firearms market has satisfied this desire for over a decade. Now it’s time to look at the first air pistol to do so. AirForce Airguns of Fort Worth is known for making powerful pneumatic sporting rifl es that have a black rifle look. For many years, the airgunning community has been asking them to turn their gun into a pneumatic air pistol, please. They finally decided to bring one out in the latter half of last year, and of course it had to be something worthy of the company that currently makes the world’s most powerful smallbore production air rifle. So, the new TalonP pistol is powerful. How powerful, you ask? How about knocking on the door of a .22 rimfire short fired from a rifle? The new pistol can deliver 10 shots at over 50 foot-pounds of muzzle energy on a single fill of air.
The new quarter-inch bore
Yes, the TalonP rocks with power that 98% of the world’s smallbore air rifles cannot achieve. To get that kind of power from a pneumatic airgun requires any two out of three things. One is a very long barrel so the pellet has time to accelerate and another is a really heavy pellet. The third thing that’s needed is a valve that runs wide open. Any two of these three are required for power. The TalonP is a pistol, so the long barrel is out. It has a 12-inch Lothar Walther barrel that might seem like a
Buntline to those unfamiliar with the air pistol power situation, but which actually is surprisingly short for the power the gun can generate. However, to the untrained eye it won’t seem short. The pistol is offered in .25 cal., which is where the heaviest pellets reside among the smallbore airgun calibers, so the requirement for heavy projectiles is fulfilled. And the other component in this case is a revolutionary new valve that generates great power without using large volumes of air. That’s the real story. The TalonP is currently the zenith of smallbore air pistol power and accuracy. Let’s learn why.
Smallbore airguns comprise of .177, .20. .22 and .25 cals. They’re what some might call the conventional calibers. Because there’s a growing contingent of big bore airguns, the smallbore label has to be used. There have been other calibers within the range of the four we currently enjoy, but they didn’t succeed. The next thing you need to understand is that among all the three popular airgun powerplants, which are spring-piston, CO2 and compressed air, only the latter offers sufficient potential to achieve serious power. Springpiston guns top out at around 30+ foot-pounds and CO2 guns are too dependent on warm weather to be of any practical use. Compressed air offers the only real possibility for smashing power.
Compressed air similar to blackpowder
You also need to understand that a compressed-air gun operates along principles that are quite similar to those of blackpowder guns. For one thing, the longer the barrel the more time the compressed air has to act upon the projectile and the greater the acceleration. Think of it as “burn time” if you like—the comparison is valid. Just as a longer barrel provides more time for blackpowder to burn and generate gas that pushes on the bullet, so a longer barrel on a compressed-air gun allows more time for the compressed air to expand as it pushes the pellet down the bore. Hence, the longer the barrel, the greater the velocity—in both compressed-air guns and those that use blackpowder. Just as there were no Kentucky rifl es with 18-inch barrels, so there cannot be any compressed air pistols of true pocket size that also develop serious power. A long barrel is a must when power is the objective. However, a 12-inch barrel like the one found in the TalonP isn’t really considered long. In fact, it is quite short for the job it’s
asked to do.
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