The Theoben\Beeman Super17 Air Rifle

By Brad Troyer


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The latest rage in airgunning recently has been the multishot precharged pneumatic rifle. Nearly all major airgun manufacturers that produce precharged rifles now have a multishot repeater in their product line. Theoben has recently introduced another in itís Rapid series of multishot air rifles called the Rapid 17 or as it is known here in the states the Super 17.

One of the rifles that brought the multishot into vogue a few years ago was the Theoben Rapid 7 which was sold by Beeman as the Super 7. It can hold up to seven .22 caliber pellets and it generated about 20 ft. lbs. of energy. It wasnít long until it was upgraded to hold 12 shots in .20, .22 or .25 calibers and the name was changed to the Super 12. The newest stable mate or the Super 7 & 12 is the Super 17. Available only in .177, the Super 17 can hold up to 17 pellets in itís removable clip. Not much else changed esthetically on the Super 17 from itís predecessors, including itís great accuracy.

This was the first time I had a chance to shoot one of the Super series of guns so I wasnít sure what to expect out of it. The first thing that I notice was the beautiful walnut stock and exceptional finish on the metal work. The stock has rich distinct grain and the pistol grip is deeply checkered. The butt pad uses a nice white line spacer to separate the stock from the thick rubber butt pad.

I decided to mount a Bushnell Trophy 6-18x on the Super 17 to extract the best accuracy from it. The top of the receiver is grooved to accept standard airgun rings and the rail had plenty of length to mount this longer scope. The Super 17 came with rings already installed so I used those rings to mount my scope. The standard rings are actually screwed into the top of the receiver to there isnít any chance that they will be going anywhere anytime soon. The rings were centered with the receiver and barrel but I needed to shim the scope some to get the point of impact down to a useable range.

With the scope mounted I pulled the Super 17 up to my shoulder to fire off a few rounds and I noticed that the trigger felt extremely familiar. I took a look at it and realized that it was the exact same trigger design that Gamo uses on itís line of air rifles, however the Super17s trigger has been modified and refined to make it a very smooth and predictable. I wish Gamo would take some pointer from the Super17s trigger. The trigger offers only one adjustment which changes the length of pull which I adjusted down to remove some of the creep that was present. It didnít remove all the creep, but as the trigger wore in, most of the creep smoothed out.

I zeroed the scope at 50 yards and sat down to shoot a clip full of pellets at some targets sitting in the woods behind my home. I was really shocked to see the groups I was getting, after shooting about 10 to 12 rounds into paper I checked the group and it could have easily been covered with a quarter! My expectations for this gun suddenly went up significantly.

I shot a few 7.9 grain pellets over my chronograph and it recorded only 800 fps and I thought, oh great, only 12 foot pounds. I figured that once I increased the power I would drop the accuracy some but still, I had to try. The owners manual didnít say anything about adjusting the power so I gave Beeman a call. They told to adjust the power all you have to do is insert an allen wrench into the small numbered disc at the rear of the receiver and turn it, clockwise to increase power and counter-clockwise to reduce power. I cranked the power up as far as it would go which maxed the power out at around 18 foot pounds.

I set out to the range early Saturday morning to perform some formal tests before the wind picked up. It was a calm quite morning as I loaded pellets into the Super17s clip. The clip has obviously been designed with some thought, it has a clear top that allows you to see the pellets that have been loaded and when the clip is empty the clip blocks the path of the loading bolt so you canít fire a blank. To load the clip the clear top is rotated around and a single pellet is put into the loading hole. The clip is spring loaded and the loaded pellet keeps the clip from rotating back to the unloaded position. The clear top is then rotated and pellets are loaded into each position with the pellet skirt facing upward.

The clip is insert into the steel receiver from the left side of the rifle. The bolt is moved to the rear position and the clip is slide into the opening in the receiver with the clear top facing the rear of the gun. The clip is held in the receiver with friction and the loading bolt. The bolt is moved back forward and the rifle is now ready to fire. The clip is numbered so that the shooter can see what shot is being fired. The numbers are easily visible with the clip loaded in the rifle and they can even be seen while behind the scope.

I was ready to start testing, all I had left to do was fill the 400cc removable bottle reservoir up to 3000 psi. I removed the bottle by turning the bottle one turn and then firing a few blank shots to remove excess air from the system. This process must be followed or the excess air will vent by the bottle seal as the bottle is removed and this can damage the seal. After I removed the bottle I screwed it onto the charging adapter and charged it up to 3000 psi. It makes a really interesting noise as it charges up and the bottle warms up some too. I found the bottle fairly difficult to screw back on, it took some effort to get it seated completely. I reinstalled the bottled onto the rifle and I was ready to shoot some test groups.

As I shot my first few groups with the 10.5 Crosman Premiers it became apparent that this rifle possessed extreme accuracy. The overall average of the 50 shots I fired with the Premiers averaged 0.48" (about 1/2") with the best group being under 3/8" and the composite group, the groups superimposed over the top of each other, looked to be easily under 3/4". The Kodiaks didnít fair as well, averaging just a bit more than 5/8". Still, those are some very good groups.

Beeman Super17 Accuracy Results
Crosman
Premiers 10.5
Beeman
Kodiak Match
Average Accuracy 0.48 0.68
Smallest 0.31 0.42
Largest 0.64 1.07
Accuracy ratings are a result of 10 groups of 5 shots each with lubricated pellets at 50 yards.

One reason the Super17 is so accurate is the Anschutz barrel. The 19" 12 groove barrel that comes standard on the sporter version is polished to improve accuracy and reduce leading. The longer barrel also helps the Super17 produce higher power levels up to the 18 ft lbs. range.

Beeman Super17 Velocity Results
Crosman
Premiers 10.5
Beeman
Kodiak Match
Average Velocity 877 874
Standard Deviation 4.65 5.18
Highest 883 882
Lowest 868 861
Extreme Spread 15 21
Weight 10.5 10.5
Energy 17.9 18.0
Velocities results are calculated from a 30 shot string.

The overall balance and handling of the Super17 was sweet, it pulls up nicely to the shoulder and points well. The gun balances about midway between the bottle and trigger guard and can be easily held with one hand on the forearm. The gun shoots, either on the range or in the woods I found it easy to get on target and control the trigger to get off an accurate shot. It has a rather sharp, shrill report which was due to the muzzle break. The report wasnít loud so much as it was a shrill.

I took after a few field targets as well and I didnít have any trouble knocking down a 1" kill zone at 50 yards better than 2/3 of the times I shot at it. I would expect that kind of performance from my Daystate but not from a sporter grade rifle. Shooting any of the normal fare on my practice range wasnít any trouble either.

I am really impressed with the new Super17 and I am really pretty critical. I didnít find a whole lot that I didnít like about this particular rifle. Theoben/Beeman is also going to offer a Field Target/Match version of this rifle that will have the same basic action but will come standard with a match grade trigger unit, a 16" barrel and a Field Target match stock. The Super17 is a fine air rifle that a shooter would be proud to own and should bring pleasure to them for a long time to come.



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Beeman Super17 Specs

Model Super17
Manufacturer Theoben, England
Importer Beeman Precision Airgun
Type Pre-charged Pneumatic
Caliber .177
Energy 18 ft. lb.
(variable)
Overall Length 39"
Weight 7.5 lbs.
Barrel 19"
Sights None
Stock Walnut Sporter
Safety Manual
Trigger 2 stage adjustable
Retail Price $1600

 

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