Air Arms S410 TDR
Bruce Potts tests the TDR version of the Air Arms S410 precharged pneumatic rifle.
Customers are fickle people who through purpose and/or desire require (or just plain want) something different to buy. Because of this one often finds really good rifles tweaked or customised to pretty them up, without really improving important details. One air rifle that does not, repeat, does not, fall into this category is the Air Arms Take Down Rifle (TDR).
A break down of the TDR
The Air Arms S410 requires no introduction to any hunters; a full length pedigree has been established to make it one of Britain’s best all round pre-charged hunting rifles. In this basically ‘anti-shooting’ political and social climate, many shooters would be interested in a full power hunting tool that could be carried discretely, so a radical new concept was drawn up based on the S410 to meet the demand. Well Air Arms really surpassed themselves with the new TDR rifle. This is not a ‘cut and shut’ S410 but a well though out highly practical hunting rifle that packs down to a very compact 35.5 inches.
This rifle comes complete with a Napier of London purpose built black nylon fabric case, that has the necessary internal compartments to store the rifle, scope, moderator and rear butt section. Strong elasicated straps and a foam interior makes sure the TDR is well secured and easily portable.
The whole essence of the TDR is its instant ‘bolt together and use’ appeal. The main components are the sound moderator, barreled action with air reservoir and the stock (rear section) which all assemble and disassemble without any special tools. This allows for a very speedy ‘set up and go’ rifle system.
The barreled action already has the forend stock attached, so simply slip on the semi sleeved Pro-76 moderator, which is securely fastened by simply tightening the large exterior knurled screw. It is fast, simple, and virtually impossible to misalign. To join this barreled action to the rear or butt section of stock, there is a great fail safe system of attachment consisting of a three pronged plug unit on the butt and a guide rod on the action. A large knurled securing wheel is located on top of the butt section and this is simply tightened to join the barrel and action. This is a very secure union (I’ve had my doubts about strength on some other take down rifles I have tested). Air Arms have ensured a strong non rotational union is enforced by recessing the two sections, so as they are tightened together no twisting is evident. Not only does this joint fix the butt to action, but it also functions as a safety feature to ensure the TDR cannot be fired without the butt section fitted. So to fire the TDR the butt must be properly attached to the action, really clever. (Note: If the action/barrel assembly could function without the butt assembly, it would basically be classed as an ‘air pistol’ which would be illegal as it generates a muzzle energy above the legal limit of 6 ft/lbs)
The action section is pure S410 territory, with the same bolt operation and magazine assembly. This arrangement has served Air Arms very well in this guise, so why change it?
Removing a magazine is achieved by cocking the bolt fully rearward and keeping a pressure on it, so the magazine can be removed with the other hand by simply sliding out to the left. Reloading the TDR mag is easy, as you just index the loading tray/wheel around and pop a new pellet into the exposed empty chamber via the see through Perspex cover. Once it’s fully loaded with ten rounds you just pull back on the bolt again and slide the mag home.
Closing the bolt pushes a pellet from the mag and seats it into the breech ready for firing. Thereafter, every cycle of the bolt indexes the magazine around and lines up the next pellet, ready to be seated when the bolt is closed. The Air Arms mag system has always been fast, efficient, and hassle free, which is just the way I like it.
The barrel is a Walther of just over 14 inches in length (with an accuracy enhancing choked muzzle I believe). It is free floating above the air reservoir and readily accepts the supplied moderator.
The trigger unit is an improved version of the old, having a crisper and readable let off that is achieved by the addition of another internal trigger sear. It is still a two stage affair, and now the narrow trigger blade has a simple cross bolt safety system fitted.
The stock is a two piece configuration to accommodate the take down facility. Both butt and forend are of walnut and are so much better in looks and feel to any synthetic alternatives. The forend incorporates a pistol grip that is large enough to accommodate most hand sizes and is stippled to aid the hold. On the underneath is a recess with a handy air reservoir gauge, allowing it to be easily viewed for instant fill pressure readings. There is no forward stippling or chequering, but the fore most section is lightly scalloped to fit the air reservoir and the underside has an accessory rail for fitting a bipod or other attachments.
The rear butt section is really only a central shaft to which a Walnut cheek piece is attached to give good eye alignment. It looks small and quite fragile but in fact it is very strong. The butt pad is adjustable for vertical correction and on the under side of the cheek piece is a housing for two additional spare magazines (not included), which is an excellent idea - no more fumbling for mags whilst out lamping.
Filling and pellet performance
Another new feature is the filling valve setup. Just remove the screw on cover and attach the hose; a simple pressure secured female connector pushes on to an external male coupling. The new filling valve has a sintered steel screen that removes any harmful particles and thus keeps the valve unit dust and grit free. Actual fill pressure is a recommended 190 bar /2750 psi that fills the air reservoir to allow an efficient 40 shots per charge at full power, mainly due to the frugal air intake from the valving mechanism.
Ever keen to see how it works out in the field, I checked the zero and filling pressures with a variety of pellets but erring on the heavier side, as PCPs usually prefer these.
As far as I’m concerned 40 shots per charge is ample, especially for hunting and in practice despite a slight power curve to start for the first 3-5 shots the power figures remained pretty constant and up to the legal limit.
Accuracy was good at 30 yards as you would expect the Walther barrel steering each pellet in the right direction and shot to shot consistency was pretty even too. The Air Arms Fields would be my choice - and usually are these days for hunting with a PCP. They offer great accuracy, power levels and consistency often less than 20 fps from a string of 35 shots.
The bolt operation is fine, not my favourite, but none the less positive and trouble free. The mags are very good and the moderator is easily slipped on and off, and it really mutes the sharp muzzle report from the TDR.
Personally I was less enamoured with its looks – though lots of other people love them - but out in the field its compact size was a bonus in any hunting situation, especially when crawling and its full power shots gave predictable accuracy, even for a rabbit at 47 yards. I do really like the way the TDR comes apart and reassembles so easily and at £555 is a good value for money hunting rifle.
My thanks to Ivan at C.H.Westons of Brighton 01273 733832 for the loan of the rifle.
|Manufacturer||Air Arms Ltd|
|Type||Pre Charge pneumatic|
|Magazine||Ten Shot Rotary|
|Overall Length||35.5 inches|
|Barrel length||14.2 inches|
|Fill pressure||190 bar|
|Safety||Cross bolt Type|
|Extras included||Moderator and carry case|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates