By Mark Camoccio BSA Supersport – review
It’s easy to get swept along on a tide of technology these days; often losing sight of the very ingredients that attracted us to the sport of airgun shooting in the first place. Ultra sophisticated cutting edge PCPs are all very well, but the associated paraphernalia required to ready them to a state of usefulness, can become irritating at times.
Indeed there’s much to be said for ‘keeping it simple’, and in airgun terms, there’s no finer example, with regards to ease of use, than the classic spring powered break barrel. Fond regard for this timeless design is often forged in the early stages of airgun ownership, and a succession of Webley Vulcans certainly left me in no doubt as to its merits.
BSA were of course the other home grown household name from yesteryear, and it’s their Supersport model that I’m giving the ‘once over’ here.
Opening the manufacturer’s protective carton reveals a selection of inclusions which can only add to the user - friendly nature of the product. Among these is the safety locking device, which is now a standard free issue with participating manufacturers within AMTA (Airgun Manufacturers Trade Association) - in a bid to promote safe handling and storage of airguns in general. It’s a nice touch, and add to this the CD instruction manual from BSA, and any prospective Supersport owner and newcomer to the world of airguns should be up to speed in no time. Having viewed the CD before, I can certainly vouch for its excellent instructional contents, covering a variety of airgun related topics; all delivered in a refreshingly clear format.
With BSA now incorporated into the operation of Spanish airgun giants Gamo, much of the traditional production has sadly moved overseas, yet I’m happy to report that this latest Supersport has remained largely unchanged from the original highly successful blueprint.
The Supersport is an incredibly compact little sporting rifle, which certainly punches above its weight. Given the relative shortness of the compression chamber and cylinder, it’s amazing that the power plant generates near legal limit energy levels, and it’s this design brief that has kept the Supersport high in the sales charts from its inception.
With an unscoped weight of just 6.6lbs, this is a rifle with real ‘pointability’, making it equally suitable for younger or slighter built shooters - as well as hulking great adults!
This latest model shows notable improvements with regards to cosmetics, and first impressions inevitably focus on the subtly revised woodwork. Gone is the trademark parallel sided fore-end, so synonymous with BSA classics of old such as the Meteor, Mercury and Airsporter. Gently tapering forward from the trigger area, the fore-end has now been fractionally increased in length, fully covering the articulated cocking linkage. The grip is nicely proportioned to offer a comfortable hold in the aim. Stylish panels of chequering adorn both the grip and fore-end. The test rifle displayed some really nice grain from the beech stock, showing through the matt lacquer finish. Couple that with the traditionally blued metal work, and the Supersport can’t fail to be anything other than a smart little rifle. One final nod to its lineage comes with the name picked out in gold lettering across the cylinder, in time-honoured BSA tradition.
These Supersports still come fitted with open sights, and for beginners, they represent an opportunity to learn the basics and principles of marksmanship, before the natural progression to optical glassware. For the purposes of my test, I took the chance to use the rifle with the open sights initially, and at 20yds could easily achieve groups of no more than an inch.
Cocking the rifle requires reasonable effort, made easier once a positive sweeping motion is adopted. As with most rifles of this type, the effort should ease with use as components become more worn in, and the full length 18.5inch barrel of the test rifle, certainly aids leverage in any case. The cocking stroke itself is incredibly smooth, along with a reassuringly solid breech lock-up/ barrel détente.For the record, once cocked, the Supersport cannot be de-cocked, (where the barrel is held down and gently allowed to slowly return upwards as the trigger is pulled), but there is a manually operated safety lever on the right of the action.
On firing, no spring twang is present, yet the action seems maybe just a little harsh with some resonance through the stock, as the shot releases with more of a snap. Trigger wise, the Supersport shouldn’t disappoint in most cases, with a two-stage set-up that is both clean and consistent. My test rifle came with an exceptionally light first stage and what seemed like a very light second stage whilst testing the rifle over the chronograph. Subsequent deliberate aiming revealed a slightly heavier release, but wholly acceptable for a rifle of this type.
In use, minor criticism comes with the fact that the cheek-piece is more suitable for those open sights; being just a little low, and, whilst back on the stock, the rubber butt pad is curiously stiff - just lacking that luxurious feel of soft cushioning at the shoulder.
That said, given the ‘all-rounder’ spec, the Supersport ‘does what it says on the tin’, and very smartly too. With a scope on board, expect around 3/4inch at 30yds once the right ammunition has been selected - a point perfectly demonstrated by the curious case of my sample of RWS Superdomes that happened to be delivered at the time of the test. Fantastic looking pellets, proven in other rifles; yet despite recording a truly phenomenal 3fps total spread over the chronograph, the Supersport just refused to group with them. Out of interest, an old batch of Wasps shot well, as did some Webley Accupells; restoring my faith in this plucky little rifle.
Overall then, a capable, no-nonsense tool; ideal for short to medium range hunting, where it could be carried all day, or as a lightweight gun to suit ladies and juniors.
Either way, the Supersport has to be well worth consideration.
|Type||Break-barrel spring powered|
|Calibre||.177 on test, .22 available|
|Webley Accupell Average velocity||792fps|
|RWS Superdome Average velocity||732fps|
|Webley Accupell Average spread||12fps|
|RWS Superdome Average spread||3fps|
|Webley Accupell Average energy||11.2ft/lbs|
|RWS Superdome Average energy||9.9ft/lbs|
|Webley Accupell RRP||£233.70|
|RWS Superdome RRP|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates