The P1 is pretty familiar to most air gunners, thanks to Beeman’s agreessive marketing of it as the most powerful spring powered pellet pistol in the world. It isn’t, of course, but it is an interesting and well made gun. Hermann Weirauch, the makers, have a long reputation for making air guns with the kind of careful engineering and construction quality they put into their firearms, and their revolvers are some of the finest in the world.
My HW30 (aka Beeman R7), for instance, is a lightweight 8 ft-lb air rifle that sells for around $375, when you can get similarly powered rifles from Crosman or Gamo for around $100 or so. What that extra $275 buys you in the R7 is all-metal construction and a gun that will last a lifetime. So it is with the P1. With occasional seal replacement and periodic (every 5-10 years) service, this is an air pistol that will outlast its owner.
Some years ago I picked up a P1 in a trade, and then traded it away a few months later, as it didn’t seem to fit into any useful airgun niche for me. Then just a week ago I was offered one in a trade so attractive that I couldn’t turn it down- so I didn’t. It arrived in like-new condition, and had been fired so little it hadn’t even been broken in. There was enough factory lube in the chamber that it blew smoke rings when I fired my first pellet.
Cocking takes some effort, as you’d expect, but it’s nowhere near as difficult as with the old BSA Scorpion, which produced similar levels of muzzle energy. The grip is based on the classic 1911 grip and fits my large hands well. It’s tempting to put on a set of rubber Pachmyrs for a better grip, but the supplied walnut grips are so pretty it would be a shame to replace them. The trigger dnt. Press me at first, compared to the Rekord trigger found on HW rifles,but hen I discovered how adjustable tons. It’s a two-lever trigger, with adjustments for weight, first stage, and over travel. Recoil is harsh, which can be misleading. What I first thought was a rough trigger was the gun’s behavior after I pulled the trigger. I think my next step, if I decide to make the P1 a permanent part of the collection, will be to research tuning it.
The sights on this pistol are a curious mix of useful and “what were they thinking?” The rear sight is large and has a good range of adjustments. The front sight is a tiny bump machined into the frame, so you’re stuck with it. I’d really like to see a taller and wider post. When I received the gun the rear sight was cranked way over to the left, probably because jerking the trigger will make it shoot to the right. Curiously, elevation was just about spot on for a sub-six hold at 10 meters.
Initial accuracy tests were not very promising at first. Using a standard ISSF sized target, 7gr match pellets, and firing offhand, my shots were all over the place grouping maybe 3″ at 10 meters. Not very good. But after some experimenting with different pellets and different grips, I fired this three-shot group with Beeman Ram Jets and a two-handed hold:
At that point I reminded myself spring guns are generally very sensitive to hold, and the harder shooting the gun, the more sensitive it is. I’ve been shooting my Alfa Proj PCP match pistol and using a very firm grip, in order to minimize disturbing point of aim when i pull the trigger, but you can’t do that with this gun. You need a very light grip. Tighten up, and the pellet spread out unpredictably. With a light grip, low power, and match pellets, things tightened up significantly. Pretty soon I was putting most of them in the 8 ring with a two handed grip.
This gun is growing on me as I learn how to make it shoot properly. Might just keep it after all.