Tech Force Contender 87: Part 2
But is it an accurate gun?
I mentioned mounting a scope on it, and I did. The scope rails on this gun are just barely too short to mount a 4-screw 1-piece mount with the factory scope stop installed, so I removed it and depended on the gripping power of the mount to keep the scope in place. So far, it hasnt' moved. Using a 3-9x40 scope, I set about shooting for some groups.
My shooting style for testing isn't like some reviewers.....I usually go for real-world conditions where I'm leaning up against a post or tree, or sitting down shooting off my knees. That's the kind of accuracy I'm interested in since in the field, that's how I shoot. There's nothing wrong with a bench-rested group, but it is simply not the way I test guns.
The first pellets I shot for accuracy were the RWS Superdomes. The Superdomes almost always give me decent results in most any gun I try them in.....but not today. They provided by far the worst groups from the Contender 87, which surprised me. However, I write it as I see it, so here's a pic of the groups I got at only 20 yards with the RWS Superdomes:
As you can see, that group isn't anything to write home about....in fact, it is dismal at only 20 yards. A pattern of nearly 2" takes a gun out of contention when trying to hit the head of a squirrel, or working towards beating your friends at target shooting. But I forged on ahead with some other pellets, and the results did improve.
The next pellet test was with the Chinese domes that are a good bet in many guns. They are uniform pellets, weigh just over 8 grains, and provide excellent groups from the QB-78 CO2 gun from the same manufacturer. The groups with this pellet did improve, but still weren't what I was looking for from my test gun. Here's a pic of the group:
The third option I tested were the heavier Beeman Kodiaks. These pellets provide lots of knockdown in a .177 pellet, and from the last report you see they are still doing over 900 fps from this powerhouse. And they proved to be the most accurate as well. The little circle you see drawn on the box is the circumference of a penny, and I was aiming at the center of the circle each time. As you can see, the Kodiaks did much better than the other two pellets I tested, and I suspect that the heavier the pellet, the better this gun will like it. Here's a couple of pics:
You can cover this group with a penny!
Now that is more like it! That is squirrel-killing accuracy, and I'm certain as the gun wears in, the accuracy will improve. I would love to put about 1000 rounds through this gun and see how the accuracy changes as the gun wears in and the parts all begin to mesh appropriately.
Another nice option on the Contender 87 is the adjustable trigger. I fiddled with the sear engagement somewhat, and lessened the weight needed to fire the gun. It will take some more experimenting, but the trigger IS adjustable, and this will help you, as the owner, to get it shooting the way you want it to.
Now is there a downside to this gun? Well....maybe. It IS heavy. With a good-sized scope on it, you're pushing over 10 lbs here, and this is a handful in the woods for a day's hunt. But if you are shooting targets or competition, that weight can be in your favor. Most FT guns that I've seen would not be suitable for carrying around, and the heavier the gun, the steadier the shooter can be. So the size and weight of the Contender 87 aren't a bad thing depending on the uses you have planned. As a hunter, if I'm going on a short hunt, or shooting pests, it would be a good candidate. If I'm heading out for an all-day hike with an airgun, I'll choose something lighter for the long haul.
At $189.95, you are getting a well-made, solid piece of shooting machinery for your money. It looks good, shoots good with the heavier pellets, and feels solid in your hands. So spend your money wisely, and enjoy the Tech Force Contender 87.