Author Topic: Beeman S1 (refurb)  (Read 13659 times)

Offline vinceb

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Beeman S1 (refurb)
« on: December 29, 2006, 01:28:44 AM »
Beeman S1 review

I realize that doing a review of a Beeman S1 NOW is, shall we say, a little late in the game. After all, this almost-entry-level Spanish Beeman has been out of production for some time now, replaced by the GS950 and the GS1000 models on one side and the Chinese made SS1000 (models TF89 and AR1000 in other brands) on the other.

However, a number of these have appeared on Beeman's "refurbished" gun list that they periodically publish, for anywhere from about $70 up to about $150, depending on cosmetic condition. According to Beeman, all rifles have been checked out and repaired as necessary to bring them up to factory specs. So it is possible that someone looking for a lower-priced air rifle can get the panache of the Beeman name at the price of a Gamo or a Chinese Quest, or a B26. But is there really any point to forgoing those and buying the used rifle -  without warranty, I might add - even if it IS a Beeman?

Well, since I had about $100 lying around, I decided to find out. I ordered an S1 that was listed at $105 on the refurb list, but Beeman (for some reason) took another 10% off. So I wound up paying pretty much what I paid for the refurb Gamo 440 that I bought from Natchez some months ago. Shipping was $19, and the gun showed up at my Dad's house in PA 8 days after I ordered it. Since this period of time covered the Christmas holidays, I'm certainly not complaining.

When I first opened the box, one thing became immediately apparent. And that is that Beeman isn't taking their refurb business as seriously as Gamo is. The gun was single-boxed, protected by hunks of styrofoam that were roughly hand-cut or broken down to size. There was cardboard dust and styrofoam bits all over the rifle, but at least it appeared to survive UPS's handling. In contrast, BTW - Gamo refurbs come double boxed, and the gun itself is packed inside a long, skinny plastic bag, getting very much the same treatment as a brand new gun. The Beeman looks like some guy did it in his garage... and wasn't too picky about it, either.

Well, picky or not - the gun did survive the trip unscathed. As I looked over the rifle, another thing became apparent - Beeman wasn't kidding when they called these guns "used". The rifle I bought was listed as being in "VG" (Very Good) condition, but it was far from flawless. There were a couple of good-sized nicks in the barrel (including one that I had to dress down with a file), a number of scratches on the compression tube, and one or two significant dings in the stock. Overall it wasn't bad, but again - definitely a notch below the Gamo refurb. But if I advertised this gun for sale myself, I don't think I would have described its condition  as "very good".

But the gun had no apparent mechanical flaws. The barrel aligns properly, the trigger feels nice and smooth, and it cocks without any grinding or graunching. The stock screws were nice and tight, and the spring chamber was clean and lubed sparingly. Which is good, because (as I found out when I opened the box) Beeman refurbs do NOT have a warranty. The guns are sold "as is", although the paperwork did indicate that if there was some problem discovered immediately, Beeman would do something about it. Fortunately, I didn't have to find out.

Now - as to the gun itself, what is the S1 like - I mean, aside from all the peculiarities of being a refurb? How does it stack up to, say, the Gamo 440 and the like?

Well, this rifle wins some and loses some.

It definitely loses in general appearance. The surface finish on both the wood or the metal look more in line with what you'd see on a Chinese rifle. The barrel is a smidgen rougher than the finish you'd see on a Gamo, but the receiver is noticeably worse. The stock finish looks positively crude next to that on a 440 or even a good 220. The reddish-brown staining is pleasing enough even if it is a little uneven, but the checkering quality is so-so, and in places surface of the wood is actually rippled. Nothing that detracts from the shootin', but certainly things that detracts from the lookin'

When you get to actually working it, though, things do improve significantly.

Cocking is a bit harder than the Gamo or Quest, and (at least on this example - it can vary from gun to gun) the cocking cycle is a bit noisy. The firing cycle isn't terribly twangy... certainly far better than most unmodified Gamo's I've tried, and no worse than the best I've seen.

Power is certainly acceptable: a few shots over the chrony showed just about 905 with CPL's. That's certainly in "stock Gamo" range, and the trigger mechanism is definitely superior to the Gamo. It is a genuine 2-stage trigger with an extra link - the trigger "moves a lever which trips a lever that trips the sear". As a result, it has a decent trigger pull, a crisp 2nd stage release... and if you bail out in the middle of a trigger pull the mechanism will not stay "half-fired" - it returns to its normal position. Unlike a Gamo, which can be brought right to the "knife's edge" of firing and then stay there if you relax the trigger.

The safety on the S1 is a small blade that hangs down in front of the trigger, and it automatically engages when the gun is cocked. However - due to its location and the ease with which it is flicked off with the trigger finger, I suspect that most shooters wouldn't find it overly objectionable. I sure don't, and I normally despise automatic safeties. There are other things to appreciate about Beeman's arrangement... first, the safety can be re-engaged without recocking the rifle (unlike the B20/B26), AND the safety can be disengaged while the breach is open and the gun can be de-cocked.

The gun balances reasonably well. It is a long gun - about 3 inches longer than the Gamo, although it's only a few ounces heavier. There's a slightly longer reach to the trigger, but nothing outrageous. The gun weighs just about 6.8-6.9lbs, which, again, is nothing terribly out of the ordinary.

Air gun sights - especially rear sights - are generally one of my biggest complaints. Given the shock loads of a springer I just don't understand the flimsy pieces of junk installed by some manufacturers. On one gun I watched the rear sight elevation adjustment knob rotate a bit with every shot, and on several I've noticed side-to-side freeplay that can booger up the windage adjustment. But neither seems to be a problem on this rifle. The sight is predominently plastic, but it seems sturdy and capable of holding its adjustment. I still prefer the Gamo Shadow/220 rear sight, but this one is certainly usable - and I do like it more than the 440 sight. The only down side is that I quickly ran out of height adjustment, but all I needed to do was make a slightly longer stud for the adjustment knob out of an old 4mm bolt. This let me set the sight to a greater elevation, which the stock tension spring and detent handled with no problem.

Neither the front nor the rear sights have fiber-optic inserts... just plain bade-and-notch. The sizing of the front sight makes it look just a smidgen skinnier than the rear notch, which works out fine with me. The front sight does have replaceable inserts, so that could be changed to suit a shooter's preference. I assume that Beeman has these inserts available, but I haven't checked with them.

This leaves one more area to cover - and that is accuracy. And this is what I'm least qualified to comment on, because frankly - I ain't a very good shot! Also, I had trouble getting it to shoot consistently from a rest - which I'm reluctant to blame on the rifle. So I ain't gonna quote group sizes. However, I did bring the gun to my back yard, where I have a target set up almost 60 yards away - a piece of pipe just about the size of a soda can. I sit at a wobbly table, rest my elbow, and pop shots at it with open sights... I can hear hits as clear as a bell. I shoot at it 10 times, and count the misses.

Well, after sighting it in, 10 shots yields 8 hits... which is as well as I can do with my Gamo rifles, and better than I've been able to do with several others. Between that and just some general shooting at that range, I'm willing to say that it shoots about as consistently as my Shadow, 220, and 440 - which, I guess, is to be expected.

So what's the verdict? Is it worth buying the refurb at the price that Beeman is asking?

For a number of reasons, that's kinda hard to say. To begin with, the S1 bears an uncanny resemblance to another rifle I own - the Industry brand AR1000, which also sold as the TF89 and the Beeman SS1000, and is supposed to be a copy of the current GS1000. The powerplant of the S1 is a little smaller, but the breach, cocking, locking, powerplant, and trigger mechanisms are virtually identical. It's a closer copy than, say, the Quest is of the Gamo 220. The finish of the Spanish S1 is a little better, but not by much... and the somewhat heavier AR1000 is more powerful. However, the S1 has one advantage - it actually hits its target! I don't know if the poor accuracy of my AR1000 is a rare fluke... if it is, then the AR1000 at less than $85 looks like the better buy.

Another issue is the lack of any kind of warranty. Gamo refurbs have the same warranty as new rifles, the Beeman has virtually none. If you're a tinkerer and would ruin your warranty anyway by taking the gun apart, it's a moot point. And Beeman still has spring and seals for it. But if your looking to use your rifle allot and you don't fix 'em yourself, this lack of warranty can be an issue.

On the other hand, though - there's nothing really against buying one of these, especially if you've got a closet full of other guns and want something a little different. It's certainly a lot cheaper than a new GS1000 - which might not be all that much stronger - and although I've never shot the newer Beeman, my experience with its AR1000 clone would suggest that it's very similar to shooting the S1. Except that the S1 is a bit lighter and easier to cock, and the S1 refurb costs 1/2 of what the GS1000 costs. The S1 is even cheaper than the SS1000.

However, there are still a few Gamo Shadows and 220's (new) kicking around for $100 - $140, and the refurbs can go as low as $85. The IZH MP513 is well under $150, as is the B26. And of course the Quest and Phantom are right around $90. The S1 does not stand head and shoulders above any of these rifles in terms of what it delivers for the money, but neither is it shamed into skulking away with its  tail between its legs.

Perhaps the best way of putting it is to say that it's a fair rifle for the money. No better, no worse. Personally, I'm not sorry I bought mine - I've got 5 Gamo's and 2 clones in my closet - I was ready for a little variety. I'd have preferred a few less cosmetic imperfections, but it performs well enough - and that's what really counts. I'm happy with it!



Offline daved

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RE: Beeman S1 (refurb)
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2006, 03:58:09 AM »
Nice review, Vince.  And not dull in the least :-)!  I really like the balance and thought you put in your reviews, you obviously know your stuff, and I wouldn't hesitate to make a yay or nay decision based on one of your reviews.  So thanks.

Dave

Offline -=ed

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RE: Beeman S1 (refurb)
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2006, 05:25:14 AM »


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Very nice review.



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-=ed..................... \"...and in our dark despair, against our will... wisdom comes...\"

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Offline DanoInTx

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Re: Beeman S1 (refurb)
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2006, 07:42:36 PM »
Great review Vince.  I think your review is clear enough for anyone to make a decent decision on this purchase.  Good work!

Dan
Dan

Current shooters: Beeman HW97K .177 with Hawke Eclipse 4x16x50SFAO and Steve C. stock, Beeman R9 .177 with Hawke Airmax 4-12x40AO and Gene\'s Midas touch, Air Arms S200 with Bushnell Banner 6x24x40AO Rowan brass bling and Steve C. custom stock, BAM B25, BAM B40 .177 with BSA 3x12x44AO, Benjamin Marauder .22, Benjamin 397 pumper.

\"repeat this mantra:
Air gunzzzzzz, air gunzzzzzz, air gunzzzzzzz!!!  ...You will feel better\" T.E.C.2008

Offline Gamo X-Ring Shooter

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RE: Beeman S1 (refurb)
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2007, 09:31:35 AM »
Where can I find the Beeman refurbished gun list?  Also where is the gamo one?

Brian

Offline JMG

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RE: Beeman S1 (refurb)
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2007, 10:49:48 AM »


I think Vince should be promoted to the position of proffesional GTA gun review writer. Vince you write very well, clear and concise. I am wondering if you have ever done any professional writing?



John

Ok I shoot....maybe not well but I do shoot hehe, B26-2.177, X3-B3-2 .177, RWS 34 .177, QB78 Deluxe .177, CR 1322 Medalist
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Offline vinceb

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Beeman list
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2007, 12:11:30 PM »
http://beeman.com/used.htm

If you call them, they will fax you an updated list.