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BSA R10 MK2

Mark Camoccio takes a critical look at the revamped MK2 version of the BSA R10

Buddy bottle fed pre-charged pneumatics are extremely popular, and the idea of having a separate air vessel, detachable from the main action has really taken off. Theoben certainly popularised this type of air rifle, when they hit the market with their ground breaking Rapid 7. Understandably eager to muscle in, many manufacturers have launched their own take on the theme, with the main advantage to the shooter being a much higher than average shot count.

I for one, can’t help harbouring reservations with regards to the handling characteristics of these ‘buddy bottle’ rifles, given that the shooter is often required to grip the bottle at the front, in place of the fore-end. This to me seems a mite uncivilized, yet with loyal customers forming an orderly queue, the system clearly has great appeal to many.

BSA have long since staked their claim to a slice of the action in this sector of the market; yet their reputation of late hasn’t been helped by the mixed reception received for their original R10 model. Reliability issues did the rounds, but my test model here is the very latest MK2 version, which sets out to address many of these issues, and the word on the street is that this latest MK2 version is the rifle that the R10 always should have been in the first place – we shall see.

First Impressions

This test is the first time that I have actually got up close and personal, and I have to say that the R10 MK2 is simply an exquisite piece of design work; every bit as delectable in the ‘flesh’ as it is screaming from the advertising.

It’s a point of fact that many buddy bottle fed rifles compound the aforementioned handling issues by the inclusion of a larger than average air bottle - striking a vulgar profile in the process. This BSA manages to undermine my bias against buddies in general, by virtue of its perfectly proportioned front mounted bottle.

Add to the equation that particularly stylish woodwork, and an uncluttered top line, and the result is a highly compact hunting rifle, that really does look the part. Rarely have I felt so drawn to a rifle as I have with this R10, and to use a corny line - ‘to handle it is to want it’. Just taking aim with this model is an experience, and the cosseting, highly functional stock, just feels right from the off.

Distinction comes with that flared ridge running across the fore-end, yet tastefully cut chequering and a high cheek piece, means handling and eye scope alignment are both well catered for. Thumb shelves really aid grip, and with the R10, a supremely comfortable ‘thumb up ‘ position can be adopted; helped in no small part by that subtle palm swell. A rosewood cap and spacer, along with a rosewood schnabel fore-end tip, may not down any more targets, but pride of ownership is enhanced for sure.

Finally, an adjustable well shaped rubber butt pad is fitted to the R10 as standard, so all importantly, this rifle can be finely set to suit the shooter, and not vice versa.

Regulation

The R10 MK2 specification includes a regulated action courtesy of a John Bowkett designed regulator, a fully shrouded barrel, 10 shot rotary magazine, 2-stage trigger, an adjustable butt pad, and sling swivels as standard. The spec looks good on paper at least, so a closer inspection beckons.

‘Sleek’ best describes the action, and that full length shroud complete with ported muzzle finisher certainly adds to the purposeful look. The barrel is barely over 15inches which is shorter than many rivals, and may well aid lock time figures into the bargain. Finish to the R10 is fairly good, with a nicely blued barrel shroud setting off the action.  Small signs of wear to the blacking were already showing on the breech block however, just where the magazine locates into its slot in the block.

Talking of mags, BSA are at pains to point out that a brand new design is now used in these models, and my experience of BSA magazines confirms that this is indeed BSA’s best yet. An enclosed casing sees a metal front plate which allows for each pellet in turn to be chambered securely head first, and with a conveniently wide aperture, the pellet can be fully inserted without needing to be seated with a following pellet. The central drum is rotated until all ten shots are in place. The mag is then ready.

Options

Charging the R10 is different to many ‘buddy bottle’ rifles in that BSA give the shooter the option of removing the bottle itself prior to charging, or simply charging the action with bottle in situ. The first route requires the 200cc bottle to be unscrewed one quarter turn, then the bolt pulled back, cocked, and air fired off repeatedly until the air in the regulator is expended. The bottle can then be fully unscrewed and then attached to the air supply. A bit of a chore, I think you’ll agree.

The second ‘quick fill’ route simply requires the probe adaptor (supplied with the rifle) to be inserted into the inlet valve, just forward of the on-board pressure gauge. The bottle via the action can then be filled to 232bar, the air line bled, and the probe withdrawn. In practise, this system worked well and is a huge advance on the alternative.

Fitting a scope to the R10 incidentally, is easier than many PCP’s courtesy of that continuous, uninterrupted scope rail; a task I could forgo since the rifle came fitted with a nicely compact BSA Essential 3-9x40 model.

Range time

This is the time in the proceedings where anything that needs fine setting can be dealt with before zeroing is attempted; such as that adjustable butt pad. One screw at the rear needs to be slackened off and the pad can be set to an optimum height to suit the individual.

Finally, the trigger is an area where some fine adjustment can really pay dividends, and in the case of the R10, BSA offer a semi match unit which is fully adjustable for shoe position, weight of pull, over travel and length of travel, and whilst these aren’t all easily achieved without removing the stock, once set, the trigger should impress.

This latest R10 MK2 just begs to be picked up, and once in the aim, I just couldn’t wait to see what it was capable of.

Over the chronograph, 170 shots were recorded with just over 30fps variation, which is fairly impressive given the wonderfully compact on-board bottle. BSA quote 150 shots and for the record, the total velocity spread would have been the same over 150.

There’s a catch…

Accuracy was next, and to be honest, initial results were not good. Alarm bells rang as I simply couldn’t keep groups to within an inch at 30yds, using .177 DaystateLi pellets. These had proved themselves before, so I suspected the problem lay elsewhere. To my relief, a technical reason emerged, and it brought to light an important aspect to bear in mind when using the R10.

BSA design the rifle with a magazine retaining catch, which sits just to the left of the
base of the barrel shroud. The loading procedure should be as follows: pull back the catch and pull the magazine from the breech block from the left side. Load the mag as mentioned previously and when full, push it back into its home. Then CLOSE the retaining catch. In my haste to get started, I had simply forgotten to close the retaining catch, and since the rifle will still fire, was unaware of my error.

Once the catch was correctly pushed home, surprise, surprise - those Daystate Li’s began printing rather excellent quarter inch groups at 30yds, followed up with sub half inch at 45yds in driving wind; yet the harsh lesson had been learned. In an ideal world, a fail-safe system would prevent the action from firing until that catch had been re-applied, yet admittedly I had failed to follow the intended procedure.

Further idiosyncrasies came to light with the fact that cocking the bolt (that rather gorgeous hand filling Bolas design) just occasionally, cycled the magazine but failed to cock the trigger - with the result that re-cocking the bolt would then load two pellets, one behind the other, into the barrel. This occurred rarely on test, and the adoption of a positive cocking regime is always the best policy in any case, yet the design does allow it to happen. Several PCP’s on the market share this weakness, but any fair assessment of the R10 needs to highlight the fact, I think you’ll agree.

Conclusion

All things considered, this latest R10 is a worthy addition to the world famous BSA stable. OK; there are some minor details that need to be considered, but performance was impressive under the right conditions, and that simply stunning walnut stock means pride of ownership has to be a part of any prospective owners thinking.

With a level of functionality that raises the bar for this type of rifle, it was little wonder that I just found myself making excuses to get out and shoot it. Yes it’s imperfect, but the R10 MK2 is just bursting with character. Couple that with a great spec list and some serious accuracy potential, and I can’t fail to recommend it, as a stylish hunting rifle with attitude.

Technical Specifications
Model: BSA R10 Mk2
Type: Buddy bottle PCP multi-shot rifle
Calibre: .177on test (.22 available)
Weight: 6.9lbs
Overall Length: 37.5inches
Barrel Length: 15.25inches
Stock: Dedicated walnut
Trigger: 2-stage adjustable
Power Source: 200cc buddy bottle
Fill Pressure: 232bar
Claimed Shot Count: .177 = 150shots or .22 = 180shots
Average velocity: 790fps with Daystate Li .177 calibre pellets
Average Spread: 32fps - over 170 shots
Energy: 11ft/lbs
RRP: £765
Options: Left hand model

All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates

Gun Mart Shooters Forum - Get Involved in the Discussion!
User Comments
  • Off topic but when/ or if there are going to be any air gun reviews etc on the youtube channel.The rim and centre fire stuff is interesting but there hasnt been any air guns featured for some time.

    Thanks

    Comment by: Simon     Posted on: 25 Jul 2012 at 02:43 PM

  • We hope to be putting some new videos on in the very near future.

    Comment by: pat farey     Posted on: 26 Jul 2012 at 04:38 PM

  • Thanks for your time Pat

    Comment by: Simon     Posted on: 27 Jul 2012 at 04:22 PM

  • I have a B.S.A. R10 and love it , i found that the JSB Exacts at 453 was great and can pin 10 shots at 30 yrds in a group of only 3 pellet width..
    a fantastic gun at a very very good price..
    Well done BSA

    Comment by: Lyndon Evans     Posted on: 02 Aug 2012 at 01:48 PM

  • It just goes to show that if you spend time on the range trying various pellets you'll get great results.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 02 Aug 2012 at 11:30 PM

  • I had the MK1 R10 and had nothing but problems with it. It constantly leaked air, got it repaired. The magazine had untold jamming problems so much so i only owned it for a couple of months then got rid of it for a Daystate Huntsman.177 and a Air Arms TDR.177. Have heard reports that the MK2 is a far supirior rifle in every aspect. May have to purchase one but not with the bull barrell.

    Comment by: Steven Phythian     Posted on: 07 Aug 2012 at 10:31 AM

  • The build quality of the Mk IIs is said to be much better than the earlier versions and the new magazine doesn't rely on the rifle to function. I'm told that BSA has implemented a lot of quality control processes at the factory, so new products should be of a higher quality.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 07 Aug 2012 at 10:38 AM

  • Hi Steven,
    I dhould have said it is the mk2 that i have and B.S.A. have realy gone to town on it, it has never jammed the new mags are fine , infact the whole gun have been revamopt i think it is a dream to fire and see all the fine groups appearing where they should be , there is of course the flyer now and again , but i put that down to pettets not the R10 MK2..
    All the very best ....

    Comment by: Lyndon Evans     Posted on: 07 Aug 2012 at 10:39 AM

  • I hate these small keyboards or is it my thick fingers that push's the wrong keys down my spelling ain't that bad ..... lol...

    Comment by: Lyndon Evans     Posted on: 07 Aug 2012 at 10:42 AM

  • berapa harganya sampai indonesia..?red

    Comment by: afriandi     Posted on: 10 Sep 2012 at 03:04 PM

  • What was that afraiandi?

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 10 Sep 2012 at 07:14 PM

  • Maaf. Kami adalah sebuah majalah review hanya. Kami tidak saham atau menjual salah satu item terakhir.

    I hope that our Indonesian translation is accurate. In English it is;
    Sorry. We are a review magazine only. We do not stock or sell any of the items reviewed.

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 11 Sep 2012 at 10:38 AM

  • A good rifle now the problems have been sorted I have it in.22 and have had no problems with it I would like it in.177 as well but the wife says no

    Comment by: M Sandland     Posted on: 05 Oct 2012 at 05:09 PM

  • Just tell your wife you're buying the .177 for her so that she can come shooting with you! I'm sure she'll let you have a go now and then!

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 05 Oct 2012 at 05:33 PM

  • I have a mk2 in .22
    Class rifle rws super domes work the best by far
    This thing can shoot flies at 20 yds

    Comment by: Steve day     Posted on: 08 Oct 2012 at 10:25 PM

  • ive had mk1 and mk2 in .177 and .22.had nothing but trouble with both inacurate underpowered and its easy to load 2 pellets into barrel then you cannot get mag out.i know 5 people who hav had them and got rid.lovely looking gun .but not very consistent.

    Comment by: des     Posted on: 02 Nov 2012 at 07:45 AM

  • Didnt learn did i . bought another r10, this time in 177. The trigger fell off within a week. but its still alot better than the last mk2 i had. ive gone through nearly all the top makes and its pretty obvious now that british makes are crap. buy a hw100.

    Comment by: ricko     Posted on: 15 Nov 2012 at 10:23 PM

  • It's a shame you've not had any luck with British airguns, you must have been very unlucky as they're usually very high quality.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 16 Nov 2012 at 10:14 AM

  • I own a R10 and it is a freat looking rifle but I do fint it is inconsistent. I also suffer with MS and the mags are a poor design for ease of loading compared to other makes. I am now selling mine to get a Daystate Airwolf

    Comment by: Dingo     Posted on: 09 Feb 2013 at 08:19 PM

  • Dingo

    Snap I also have MS and have the same problem I have six air rifles and the best to load for me is the Armex Reaper and a good rifle it is too.
    The R10 how ever wins it in the look's department .

    Comment by: M Sandland     Posted on: 12 Feb 2013 at 07:05 PM

  • Having recently become the proud owner of the BSA R10 mark 2 the amazing consistent accuracy of this gun must be applauded.
    The only fault I find I must comment on is the location to the safety catch, this is mounted on the left hand side difficult to operate with ones right hand unless being endowed with a telescopic thumb.
    However I have to say that overall I remain a proud owner, BSA have hit the mark with this one, with all of us that insist on buying British.

    Comment by: Robin Adkins     Posted on: 16 Apr 2013 at 07:30 PM

  • Pellet jam, r10 renowed for it, dosent jam with rws superfield or bis magnums but terrible with aa and hn. Changed mag with one from my ultra that had no problems at all with anything but in the r10 had the same problem. The r10 bolt clears the mag when cocking, cant understand it.

    Comment by: rick     Posted on: 16 Aug 2013 at 10:38 AM

  • Hi Rick,

    That's very odd regarding your R-10's mag problem but I'm sure BSA could sort it for you. Might be an idea to give them a call.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 01 Sep 2013 at 08:06 PM

  • I bought a 4 month old R10 mk. 2 in .22 cal. second hand off a mate who has lost his shooting rights. The gun looks like brand new . And I am experiencing a lot of fliers 1 in 5 going 5 inches low to left @ 25 yards. I have tried a varied array of different pellets usually all return good results in most of my other air rifles These were shot off a bi-pod in still conditions .-;
    RWS Hobbies, RWS Super domes. JSB Exact. H&N FTT. ELEY Wasps. XMAN Accupells. This problem happens with the moderator on or off.
    I have checked the barrel for obstructions swarf damage etc. but cannot see any cause for the problem.
    All putting consistent readings through the chronograph ranging around 575 - 600 fps depending on pellet type. these were all shot using the latest type red magazines. I am awaiting a single shot clip to see if the mags are distorting the pellets on loading into the breech. I would appreciate other owners in-put or ideas on this. By the way It's not me as I usually shoot
    98 - 100 /100
    on our club bench rest comps with my Air Arms 400 classic

    Comment by: MICK FLITNEY     Posted on: 09 Oct 2013 at 07:22 PM

  • Hi Mick,

    If you hadn't mentioned that happens with or without the moderator that would have been my answer! It's certainly an odd one. Mybe the barrel is loose in the action?

    If I were you I'd give BSA a call and see what they advise.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 09 Oct 2013 at 09:14 PM

  • Hi Mick

    I agree with Troll Hunter but without wishing to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, also check for the following if you haven't done it already;

    No loose stock to action bolts
    No loose scope mount screws
    With magazine removed check for perfectly aligned pellet seater/probe
    Check for any loose or mis-aligned movement in magazine rotation - also check individual chambers for damage or mis-shape (ovoid) or mis-alignment of any chamber when 'in battery' position.
    Check crown of barrel for damage or irregularity
    Give barrel a good clean
    Put a spirit level bubble on the back of the stock and shoot a magazine full of pellets off a bench rest or bipod keeping the level even.

    You've probably tried all this already, but just in case! If not - as TH suggested - get in touch with BSA

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 10 Oct 2013 at 12:43 PM

  • those clip on bi pods don't work right on free floating barrels

    Comment by: nai nagrom     Posted on: 16 Oct 2013 at 11:16 PM

  • FOUND THE PROBLEM WITH THE FLIERS. I TOOK THE SHROUD OFF TO CHECK THE BARREL CROWN & RIFLING ETC. AND TO MY SUPRISE THERE WAS A SMALL PIECE OF RUBBER O RING FLAPPING ACROSS THE IN FRONTOF THE BARREL FROM THE FRONT SHROUD ALIGNER BUSH. A QUICK SNIP WITH A SHARP BLADE. AFTER RE-TESTING THIS HAS NOW SOLVED THE PROBLEM.

    Comment by: MICK FLITNEY     Posted on: 17 Oct 2013 at 10:50 AM

  • Excellent news!

    I'm glad you've got it sorted and that it turned out to be a relatively simple cure.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 17 Oct 2013 at 06:28 PM

  • i have been just been offered a bsa r10 with a scope, bipod and sound moderator for £300, is this a good deal ?

    Comment by: cm1995     Posted on: 29 Oct 2013 at 12:16 AM

  • All that sounds like a bargain but obviously 'buyer beware'. £300 is still cheap enough to add a service into the equation and for it still to be a bargain.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 29 Oct 2013 at 07:43 AM

  • I have an R10 mk2. The bolt jams periodicaly and will not push the pellet into the breach from the magazine. I have to turn the mag with my finger tip to align things. Took it to Essex Airgun Centre They tried to reproduce the fault but failed. They lubricated the magazine and gave it back. It still jams.
    The gun a.177 is great in all other aspects.

    Comment by: Bill Blake     Posted on: 18 Dec 2013 at 04:50 PM

  • dont worry bill it seems to sort its self out as it wears in, try using the bolt action faster for a bit.

    Comment by: ricko     Posted on: 19 Dec 2013 at 05:50 PM

  • I have had problems with the BSA magazines for the R10 Mk 2. They work fine to begin with and I have 7, then it is hard to push the bolt in.
    Yesterday, I finally solved the problem, and it has nothing to do with the types of pellets.
    I tried a magazine with an intact O ring, with no pellet, and it was hard to push the bolt in, like if a pellet was present.
    I then dismantled the mag and took out the o ring.
    Put mag back in rifle, and it had virtually no resistance on cocking the rifle.
    Tried with pellets in the mag, again virtually no resistance on cocking.
    You have to load by placing one finger on the other side of the pellet hole, but once pellets in, they stay in place because the pellet drum under tension puts the drum and hole slightly off centre.
    The mag is a bit rattly, but the cocking is now super slick.
    I have now removed all the O rings and will never put another one in.
    The problem is when the rifle is cocked the pellet pulls on the ring slightly resulting like trying to stretch an elastic band

    Comment by: mrblister68     Posted on: 27 Apr 2014 at 09:25 PM

  • Hi all BSA fans i'm looking into buying a pcp airrifle and am looking at the BSA R10mark2.177 or cometa lynx. the .22 or 5.5mm calibre ones are to expensive in South AfricaI see a lot of bad comments on the cometa lynx,o-rings failing so I think I should buy a BSA R10 instead.Could I shoot rabbits and ducks with it as it is a 4.5mm??I have a hatsan MOD125 4.5mm break barrel and I want to upgrade the spring has a hell of a tension and it is very noisy.What do you think

    Comment by: Carel Cordier     Posted on: 23 May 2014 at 05:10 PM

  • Hi Carel,

    An R10 is a very accurate air rifle and that is the most important feature of any gun; there's no point having a high powered gun if it's not accurarte enough to hit what you're aiming at!

    I'm not sure what power you are allowed over there in South Africa, we are limited to 12 ft/lbs here, unless you have a Firearm Certificate. 12 ft/lb is enough to humanely take rabbits with a shot to the brain but I've never shot a duck so I wouldn't know if it would kill it cleanly. .177 and .22 are both up to the job of controlling small pests, the .177 is just more forgiving of ranging errors.

    See if you can find out what power you are allowed and get back to me.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 23 May 2014 at 06:30 PM

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