02 Feb

Bushnell Elite 3200 5-15×40 Tactical Riflescope on Beeman R-1 Air Rifle

Steven K. Ledin,

I installed some excellent new glass on my .20 caliber Beeman R-1 Anniversary model air rifle this weekend. The Bushnell Elite 3200 5-15×40 Tactical riflescope is airgun rated for the heavy dual recoil of magnum spring-piston airguns. This #325154T Japanese airgun scope stretches to over 14.5 inches, which is about the maximum length you can put on a barrel-breaking air rifle, and the objective lens housing is only about a half inch away from the barrel when pivoting it to load, which still permits easy access. Eye relief is a comfortable 3.5 inches. The fast focus eyepiece offers easy reticle sharpening, and the adjustable objective can be manipulated for an extremely crisp target picture down to the official 10 meter airgun distance. The turrets are oversized for easy incremental adjustments, and the turret caps are easily removed and repositioned to zero if you like.




I installed this scope in a Leapers one piece airgun mount with integral, required scope stop. I'm becoming more impressed with Leapers products all the time, mainly regarding their accessories. The RGPM2PA-25M4 mount is nicely machined with no visible toolmarks. Each ring has 4 Allen screws and a soft compressible layer of friction tape on all 4 ring halves that ensures a secure grip without marring your scope tube, and not requiring any lapping. The Leapers mounts come with an extra screw and scope stop. These are fine mounts and a great value. This R-1 has been my go-to airgun since the early nineties and I only use top quality equipment on it. It is a 20th Anniversary model. I put an ivory grip cap on this German gun for looks, and a muzzle break for easier cocking. The trigger shoe is something I've always been fond of.




I use the closest gun vise or rest handy to line up the crosshairs and set eye relief, then take some close shots to find out where I'm at on the paper. The vise this time was a Wheeler "Best Damn Gun Vise." My targets were standard NRA 10 meter air rifle targets. I was sighted in within a dozen shots. I shoot into a trap my dad made when I was just a few years old, and I've been shooting rimfires and pellets into it for over 40 years. It's as good as the day it was born. The other trap I use was made by Detroit Armory. It's called a Super 12×12, and it will handle any centerfire cartridge that throws up to a 300 grain bullet at 3200 FPS. Needless to say, it is a substantial piece of equipment.




My Shirley and Rad stay upstairs when I shoot, and airguns don't make too much noise, nor stink up the basement with spent powder and primers.




I use Crosman Premier pellets a lot, and these excellent field pellets have earned an envious reputation for their size and weight consistency. This particular gun likes them quite a bit, although for hunting I usually sight in with Beeman Cro-Magnum hollowpoints or Silver Arrow pointed pellets.




I shot the gun offhand at 10 meters from the strong side and weakside, then shot from a bench from both sides as well. I use leather sandbags on top of a Caldwell rest for the front, and a bunny ear bag for the rear. I have learned through many experiments sizing and seating pellets that it makes very little difference on projectiles that individual sporting airguns like, so I just seat them firmly with my finger, taking care not to damage the delicate pellet skirt while doing so.




Learning to shoot spring-piston airguns well is difficult and humbling. The time from sear release to pellet exit is so long, and the guns are so temperamental in the consistent manner in which they are held, that perfect form and follow-through are required. Spring guns know what you're doing wrong before you do, and they take any opportunity to embarrass you and throw a flier. Various shooters will also have different points of impact with the same gun due to the nonstandard ways the gun is being held.




I love this new Bushnell Elite 3200 on this gun, and the Leapers mount is superb. My groups were very satisfying. The scope tracked perfectly every time. Before I closed up shop I also shot a Beeman P-3 air pistol with H&N wadcutter pellets for a while, both strong and weak side. I love the P-3s. The triggers are outstanding, and the guns have my highest recommendation in a moderately priced single stroke pnematic with typical German care and engineering.




It was a good weekend of pellet shooting in the Game Room, and a great way to keep up my muscle memory and shooting skills during the off-season. It was also inexpensive, and my airgun shooting is quiet enough not to piss off My Shirley or Rad.




Took a break from shooting Saturday and slurped down a couple dozen fresh oysters with my good friend and fellow firearms instructor Jerry. Jerry and I talked guns and hunting stuff while his lovely wife Linda and my beloved Shirley yakked about stuff that boys don't care about. The oysters were outstanding. Thanks, guys.

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