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Thread: BSA Lightning XL SE GRT

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Bognor Regis
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    BSA Lightning XL SE GRT

    I bought this rifle on a bit of a whim off of a mate, who'd bought it brand new and put maybe 50 pellets through it before his wife had insisted that she didn't like him shooting. The price was right, c/w a 3-9x40 Richter scope, bag and a couple of tins of pellets. I was instantly taken with the looks and the way it handled. It's light, comes nicely to the shoulder with an attractive beech stock.
    I was initially very taken with the very fast lock of the ram, and despite the fairly heavy but smooth cocking stroke it handled really nicely. First impressions are of a sharp and fairly violent recoil which seems to make it somewhat hold sensitive, and accuracy was a little disappointing, but I put this down to me being rusty having only recently returned to shooting.
    However, by the time I'd put a few hundred pellets through it, the accuracy wasn't improving and the recoil was becoming literally tiresome. This is not a relaxing rifle to shoot! I was also finding the trigger hard to adjust and to adjust too. The first stage is very light, with the second stage requiring about 5lb of pull and the release being somewhat vague. Also the SE has a very straight trigger blade that combined with the weight of the pull left me feeling uncomfortable and not fully in control. Attempts to adjust the trigger resulted in a slightly lighter pull, but at the expense of making the trigger border on unsafe. Others seem to have no trouble with the trigger on these rifles so maybe it's just me, be I couldn't get on with it.
    I made the decision to pull the rifle down to see if anything could be done (I know, it was still under warranty but I can't help fiddling!), and a number of issues were found.
    The trigger uses a version of the new Gamo SAT unit, which is not surprising as these rifles are made for BSA by Gamo. However the trigger blade is different to accommodate the BSA safety up on the side of the action, rather than the Gamo type which uses a small lever in front of the trigger within the trigger guard. The Gamo trigger pivots on a separate steel pin whereas the BSA item has the pivots moulded in plastic integral with the trigger blade. These are showing signs of wear and distortion after only a few hundred shots. Revised blades which improve the pull weight and feel of the unit are available for the Gamo SAT, but the changes on the BSA version make these tricky, but not impossible, to fit.
    The rifle was assembled with virtually no lubrication other than a film of light oil on the ram and the piston surfaces. Wear is already apparent on the inside of the body and the rear of the piston where the two bear together during the cocking stroke. Worse were the two small fragments of swarf that were embedded in the sides of the piston seal. These have caused scoring of the cylinder. I also noticed that the leading edge of the seal was damaged, presumably during assembly at the factory.
    The barrel exhibits one of the faults that others have noticed, namely it is tight at the breech and the muzzle with virtually no effort being required to push a pellet down the majority of the rifling. Not good for accuracy!
    I won't go into some of the design elements that make the rifle unpleasant to shoot, suffice to say there are some!
    I really want to like this rifle, but until BSA address some of the issues, particularly with regards to manufacturing and quality control I think I'd have to conclude that your money may be better spent elsewhere.
    BSA Lightning XL SE GRT project. Webley Alecto 0.177. Relum Super Tornado rescue dog

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Bognor Regis
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    Just a quick update to say that BSA are being given an opportunity to address some or all of the above issues. I hope to have something positive to report back with!
    BSA Lightning XL SE GRT project. Webley Alecto 0.177. Relum Super Tornado rescue dog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    York.E.Yorks
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    124
    Good review the first one I have seen on this gun. Is this a spanish made BSA or Brum? This gun was of interest to me what with the demise of Theoben and the Evo and I so wanted it to be good because it really does look the part, But it doesn't sound like it's going to fill that slot shame really, BSA just seem to be keep turning out guns that just don't hit the mark. Keep us informed on how you go with getting the probs sorted, I presume when it get's sent back it goes to Brummie land and they are left to rectify probs that was done in Spain, but it also sounds like that there also could also be design/production faults.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Bognor Regis
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    I believe this is a Spanish made version. A friend has an XL Tactical spring version which I understand is now made back in Birmingham, and that's much nicer rifle. The trigger is the same unit, but feels much better. I wonder if the gas ram is overloading the sears on the GRT version causing the poor feel?
    Given the bore and stroke (29mm dia x 75mm) and the cocking force required, I think this is a rifle designed for a much higher output that is then strangled down to UK power by the cheapest means possible, namely the tiny 2mm restriction in the transfer port.
    I spoke to a very helpful guy in the technical department, and the rifle is now back in Birmingham, hopefully to have some issues resolved. I'll let you know how I get on!
    BSA Lightning XL SE GRT project. Webley Alecto 0.177. Relum Super Tornado rescue dog

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    worksop
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    Hi Hangtight. Nice review.... I purchased a XL GRT at the shooting show a couple of weeks ago on a whim. The price was right at the time (280-brand new) and it looked spot on for what i wanted it for (rabbits and pigeons in the horse fields we have). You are spot on with your comments about the trigger. The first stage is not too bad after some adjustment with the screw, but there is more travel on the second stage than a national express coach!! Ita also feels like the plastic trigger blade is bending under the tension before it's release, although this might just be me after the long wait for it to let go. The build quality is not too bad, and the stock is nice for a chunk of beech. As for accuracy, ive only managed to get about 700 pellets through it so far, and its grouping to about 10mm at 30 yards with the odd flyer. On the odd occassion it does seem to drop a shot or two by about an inch or so, which points towards the power delivery fluctuating now and again, but this is'nt a regular thing i hope. I intend to stick with it for now and feed some more lead down the barrel to see what happens. I'm not going to use it out in the field yet, until i'm sure it's spot on and not chucking pellets all over. Does any one supply an aftermarket trigger for the GRT to sweeten things up a little? Failing that, it's back to Beesa for them to sort.
    I'm not disapointed with my purchase, as i knew it was'nt going to be a HW or AA and i got what i paid for. I love the size/weight/looks of it, and If a HW silencer is fitted to the already fitted barrel shroud, it does increase the length but silence's it wickedly! It's just a pitty it is'nt bang on out of the box.
    Keep us posted on what BSA say and do for you, as i'm interested in case i need to send mine in.....

    Cheers.
    Andy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Bognor Regis
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    262
    Andy,
    I've got a thread going at the moment in the general airgun forum about fitting an aftermarket trigger blade designed for the Gamo SAT to the BSA. It's stalled at the moment until I get the rifle back from Birmingham, but I'll post progress once there is some.

    Cheers.
    BSA Lightning XL SE GRT project. Webley Alecto 0.177. Relum Super Tornado rescue dog

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Bognor Regis
    Posts
    262
    I received my Lightning back from BSA today. It would appear that all they have done is chrono it, and fire a test group which apparently was 1/2" at 25 yards. Neither of my concerns regarding the tightness at the breech or the natural of the internal lubrication have been addressed. After speaking to BSA, I don't believe the rifle was disassembled and checked internally in any way.
    While I'm disappointed, I'm not surprised. I've subsequently contacted BSA via email, the body of which is below. I hope for a positive response and I'll let you know how I get on!

    Dear Sir,

    I recently purchased a BSA Lightning XL SE GRT from Protek Supplies in Bognor Regis who have been most helpful in helping me resolve some issues I have with the rifle.
    During routine maintenance (simply removing the action from the stock to clean and protect the underside of the action after use outside), I noticed two points that I wish to raise with you. The rifle has already been returned to yourselves with a covering note outlining my concerns. The rifle was tested, found to fall within your criteria and returned with no remedial action taken.

    My first concern is with the barrel. My particular example exhibits a tightness at the breech for approximately 20-25mm, after which the pellet can be pushed down the bore with minimal pressure before reaching the choke. This is far more noticeable with pellets that have a larger head, for example Wembley Accupell or Powerpell at 5.51mm, than with something like AA Diabolo Field at 5.50mm. Various sources, including staff at Sandwell Field Sports have confirmed that this apparent restriction at the breech should not be the case, and can have a detrimental effect on accuracy and the nature of the shot cycle.
    The note on your repair form (#6206) stated, "Our barrels have a tighter muzzle as they are hammer swaged." but made no mention of the tightness at the breech.
    Having examined a friends Lightning XL Tactical in the same calibre, it doesn't exhibit the same tightness at the breech and is consistently more accurate with a range of pellets in a back to back test with my example, although being a conventional spring rather than a gas strut may have a bearing in this. It would however be disappointing if the more expensive GRT was inherently less accurate for whatever reason.

    The second concern is with the nature of the internal lubrication as supplied. I completely understand that the gas spring is capable of long and trouble free service with the absolute minimum of a light lubricating oil. But the same can not be said for other bearing surfaces within the cylinder, for example the rear of the piston skirt to the inside of the cylinder during the high, off axis force associated with the cocking stroke. There is no evidence of any lubrication in this area other than a thin application of light oil. A swab of this area taken through the cocking slot revealed small particles of metal which would suggest that wear is taking place, even after only a few hundred cycles. As someone with an engineering background, I would be concerned that a steel to steel bearing face lubricated with just a static film of light oil would be subject to levels of wear that could render the components not fit for purpose within the warranty period. This concern was outlined in the covering note and was addressed with a brief note stating, "A dry system of operation. The only part that is oiled is the piston seal and cylinder."
    The use of just oil in this area would seem to be at odds with accepted good practise regarding the internal lubrication of spring/ gas ram air guns. While I am quite happy and equipped to remedy this myself, to do so would involve the dismantling of the rifle thus invalidating the warranty. To not do so will cause considerable problems with worn components that will considerably curtail my enjoyment and the longevity of my purchase.

    I bought this rifle because it's combination of performance, appearance, weight and dimensions made it really stand out in is what quite a crowded market. At the moment I am somewhat disappointed, and I sincerely hope that these issues can be resolved so that I can recommend your product to anyone and everyone else.

    Best regards,
    BSA Lightning XL SE GRT project. Webley Alecto 0.177. Relum Super Tornado rescue dog

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Livingston
    Posts
    62
    Quote Originally Posted by terrierforce View Post
    Good review the first one I have seen on this gun. Is this a spanish made BSA or Brum? This gun was of interest to me what with the demise of Theoben and the Evo and I so wanted it to be good because it really does look the part, But it doesn't sound like it's going to fill that slot shame really, BSA just seem to be keep turning out guns that just don't hit the mark. Keep us informed on how you go with getting the probs sorted, I presume when it get's sent back it goes to Brummie land and they are left to rectify probs that was done in Spain, but it also sounds like that there also could also be design/production faults.
    My local dealer came to exactly the same conclusion regarding the Spanish made guns,they are so close to being really good ,but there is just something lacking compared to the old british built Supersports/XLs.Consequently, he only stocks the British built XL Tactical along with all of BSA`s PCP range ,-he also had to return a batch of Gamo Gas-rams ,due to low power and a harsh firing cycle (probably due to them originally being FAC/Export power strangled down to our sub-12 ft/lb standard!)
    Webley Longbow SE; 0.22
    Weihrauch HW80; 0.22 (1987.)
    Beeman P17/HW40 "hybrid" pistol; 0.177

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Todmorden
    Posts
    4

    Angry

    Quote Originally Posted by harry palmer View Post
    My local dealer came to exactly the same conclusion regarding the Spanish made guns,they are so close to being really good ,but there is just something lacking compared to the old british built Supersports/XLs.Consequently, he only stocks the British built XL Tactical along with all of BSA`s PCP range ,-he also had to return a batch of Gamo Gas-rams ,due to low power and a harsh firing cycle (probably due to them originally being FAC/Export power strangled down to our sub-12 ft/lb standard!)
    my lightenig is just as bad inside bsa said tuff basicaly you've took it in bits got new piston seal and ultra tune kit from chambers so far spent couple of hours de burring gun and hour or so trying to fit piston seal. have you ever tryed pushing a 10 mm inverted mushroom through a 5 mm hole not fun .Cheers BSA for spoiling a nice looking gun with shoddy workmanship!!! Viva la bleeding spania!!!!!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Barnsley
    Posts
    22
    I bought one of these last week after reading the poor reviews but it was at a good price and I love the look of the rifle (it's the only break barrell I like the look of)

    Build quality is great, accuracy is pretty good up to 20 yards which is fine for what I want it for, and I'm sure will get better with practice.

    It looks gorgeous, it breaks nicely and doesn't feel graunchy like some others.

    The only thing that disappoints is the trigger, it has too long a travel, and you just hold your breath and try and keep the gun on target till it releases. It doesn't seem to release predictably and does cause a bit of stress when firing. I've tried adjusting the trigger tension and it makes no difference whatsoever from tight to nearly screwed all the way out.

    I'm not too bothered as I bought it on looks and it's still fun for a no effort self contained rifle when I'm not in the mood for going down the local shop to fill up my pcp and if I want something that hits the target every time without trying then I just revert back to my s200

    In short if the trigger was predictable and more pleasant to use then this would be an awesome gun.

    I rate it great as it is though

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