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Cometa Fenix 400

Mark Camoccio reviews the Cometa Fenix 400 and finds an ideal value for money springer

Having started up my own airgun club a while back, I now regularly get asked the same sort of questions from novices and newcomers alike. What’s a good starter rifle that offers a good standard of performance, yet won’t break the bank?

It’s a fair question too, as shooting is much the same as many sports, in that major investment in kit is foolhardy at the outset, before a toe has even been properly dipped in the water. In other words, going out and spending hundreds of pounds on cutting edge technology, before fully knowing that a particular branch of our sport is really going to appeal, is a risky business, and could be costly in the long run.

Striking a compromise is the name of the game here though. Budget gear is all very well, but take it from me, there’s some really rough kit out there at the bargain basement end, and whilst rifles for around the £50-£60 mark may seem like the bargain of the century, their performance is in my experience, invariably grim! A fool’s economy I believe it’s called, and we’ve had a few new members turn up with these oriental atrocities…

OK; you’re in the market for a spring powered air rifle, yet you don’t want to spend a small fortune. You’ve decided that the simplicity of a break-barrel design also makes sense, but you’re bewildered by the choice available.

Take the proper route (as with any sport or interest), and get along to your local club to chat with experienced users at the sharp end, BEFORE investing hard-earned cash.

Turn up at our club, and I’ll now probably direct you towards the gem that’s on test here - the Cometa Fenix 400.  I can honestly say that this rifle has been something of a revelation, and it’s changed my rather set views about who puts out the quality on the market.

OK, Weihrauch still largely rules the roost with the sheer range and quality of their spring powered offerings, but they don’t do cheap, and this Cometa has to be one of the best break-barrels outside of Germany - yes it really is that good!

I’ll tell you something else from the outset, because accuracy stems from such aspects - this rifle also sports a damn good trigger!

Stock matters

Imported by John Rothery, these Cometa rifles herald from the Spanish firm of Bascaran - apparently a family run concern of some 70 years standing.

Prior to getting my hands on one of these guns, I’d subconsciously acknowledged those adverts, appreciating the close ups of the wood to metal fit, and the overall impression of a no-nonsense, solidly engineered, traditional air-rifle. Well, with the tangible wood and steel now finally in front of me, I can report that the finish really is as good as it looks in those ads.

Starting at the woodwork, the stock is remarkable, bearing in mind that the wood is beech. Often bland and coated in a thick varnish when used on many rifles, this Fenix model somewhat bucks the trend, offering both attractive figuring, and a subtle, matt finish that doesn’t hide the genuine beauty of the wood - and the shapes not bad either! A fully extended forend shrouds the breech arrangement, adding a feeling of solidity, as well as greater options for a comfortable grip in the aim; whilst the well proportioned pistol-grip incorporates panels of chequering. The pattern may well be pressed, but it’s neatly done, and does its job, and given the relatively modest asking price of this model, is well up to spec.

A pleasantly shaped, raised cheek-piece, is given a right hand bias, with a black rubber pad completing the package.

Long rifle

My test model was supplied in .177 calibre, with a full length barrel, although a shorter barrelled carbine ‘s’ model is also available, coming complete with silencer. Where my model differed from the advertisement regarded the open sights. The test example came fitted with fibre optic style inserts that provided a nice bright fluorescent image; the theory being that any available ambient light is utilized and maximized to the full – thereby enhancing the sight picture. In practice they were highly usable, but the overall quality of this gun demands that you basically stop messing around, and in this case, ignore those sights completely and fit a scope! Bearing this in mind, it’s a point of note that the fore-sight could be cleanly removed with a single screw, leaving a sleek, clutter free barrel, and a purposeful profile.

All the metalwork was blued to a very high standard, which doesn’t include the trigger and guard. Why? Because they’re plastic! Now I’m not too keen on plastic, but all I can say is that the moulding is solid and crisply executed, and more importantly, the trigger gives a relatively light release, which makes accurate shooting fairly easy to achieve.  There is some creep in the unit before the sears trip, but it’s predictable and offers only minor resistance – and believe me – I’m fussy!

Mounting that scope should be a simple affair, as twin sets of arrestor stud holes are machined into the top of the receiver. This means that any scope mounts can be locked in position giving peace of mind, and ensuring a solid zero is maintained. Not that zero shift is particularly likely, as a mild mannered action is another welcome feature of this very capable rifle.

On the range

Breaking that barrel and cocking the action generated some curious squeaks and noises (probably just needing a little oil on the joints); yet I couldn’t care less, as firing revealed no such problem - just a slick crisp snap of the action, and the shot was on it’s way.

Pellet wise, I chose to use Daystate FT (currently one of the most successful pellets on the market in competition), and the evergreen Dynamit Nobel Superdome. Electronic power testing showed consistency was highly creditable with both brands giving five shot spreads of 11fps and 12fps respectively, yet only one would shine in the accuracy test. Basically the Fenix just didn’t like the Daystates; and I have to admit, they did seem a little loose in this barrel. The Domes however, were different again, and went on to show just how capable this gun is - with 3/8inch groups at 30yds.

Conclusions

This rifle deserves to do well. It offers a traditional format, with great build quality and excellent performance, in a stylish package - all for around the £160 mark.

That trigger probably has a lot to do with it, but this is easily the most enjoyable spring rifle that I’ve used in a long while, and well up to both hunting duties or even HFT spring rifle class - praise indeed!

Technical Specifications
Model Fenix 400
Manufacturer Cometa
Country of origin Spain
Type Break-barrel (spring)
Calibre .177 on test (.22 avail)
Weight 7.5lbs
Overall length 45inch
Barrel length 18.5inch
Stock Beech sporter
Energy Daystate FT pellets: Average 780fps (spread 11fps) = 11.4ft/lbs
RWS Superdome pellets: 768fps (spread 12fps) = 10.9ft/lbs
Price £169 approx.
Options Fenix 400s carbine model including silencer - £189

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

User Comments
  • I owned a Cometa 400 Carbine version, and I must say it was terrible. Nothing could change the bad groupings of 6" at 20yds. changed everything, even other shooters could not get a good group. My advice Try before you Buy, bad group send it back. I also know of another 400 cometa carbine owner and his gun was superb compared to mine. Advice, some are good, some are bad. If you have bought one and it shoots bad, take it to a gun shop for a second opinion. Talk about Russion Roulette, Cometa quality roulette. Mine must have been the late Friday afternoon, working my last days notice, want to go home build of gun. Its not that cheap either, go for a BSA XL,---- when buying tools always buy the best you cant aford they will last a lot longer, same for gun. I asked at the local gun shop about the cometa, just sucked through his teeth and said you should not have bought one of those, why we dont stock them, to many comebacks. If you buy one with a good groupings it should be a good gun, and are well put together Buyer beware

    Comment by: richard     Posted on: 26 May 2010 at 07:31 PM

  • Wise words Richard. Also, not all guns are equal - even the same model in some cases. The ONLY way to be sure is to try before you buy

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 27 May 2010 at 12:52 AM

  • I personally can't fault the cometa. I own a variety of both pcp, co2 and the good old faithful springers, and to be honest, my cometa 400s was all over the target at first, but after about 1000 shots, it improved and now is equally as accurate as any rifle in my collection...apart from the fwb 300s, but that's in a completely different class.
    Certainly wouldn't recommend any of the gamo breed of rifle, unless it's only for plinking.
    My cometa is now a FAC model producing around 20-22 ft/lbs and is my preferred choice for the field, even over and above the pcp's (Air Arrms s410, BSA Ultra)...no fuss and bother with charging etc. Just plain straight forward enjoyable hunting.

    Comment by: Dave     Posted on: 08 Sep 2010 at 08:04 PM

  • I bought the 300 new and was experiencing the same problem as richard,only 2 months old had at least 250 pellets through and no change.
    I had contemplated the bsa lightning or the xl or stingray xs.
    At one point I wished I had,but knowing they're made by gamo/hatsan put me off.
    So I opened it up only to find a bent spring,I put an ox spring in(soon to change to a titan xs) and gave it a light polish and re-lube and its stacking up pellets to the point where i'm reluctant to use my pcp.
    Bringing me to the conclusion that my scenario could apply to any springer straight from the box.
    TAKE IT BACK!!!

    Comment by: steve price     Posted on: 26 May 2011 at 12:51 PM

  • hi , iwould like to say that i purchased a cometa fenix 400 when they first arrived on the market ,from david nickersons, since then i have reworked the internals a bit, ive machined a new better fitting spring guide machined from ( industrial grade high density nylon ) material this was machined just a few thou under size of the mainspring internal of which was a titan xs with 5 coils removed & the ends of the spring re-dressed,
    the piston was lined using a shim of a better fit , now when cocking the rifle it feels like a gas ram , eg silky smooth, i know that people have frowned on these guns a bit , but with a little bit of work are a great rifle.
    i payed £159.00 for mine great bargain .

    alan

    Comment by: alan     Posted on: 13 Jul 2011 at 03:00 PM

  • There's nothing wrong with Cometas, in fact our tests indicate that the latest models seem to be getting even better, and with a bit of sensible tuning they can be top notch. It will be interesting to try the new 'Lynx' - their first PCP.

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 13 Jul 2011 at 10:12 PM

  • Hi I own the Cometa 300 and today I've just received my Cometa 400 Fenix new. Both guns rival BSA guns in quality and whilst it's difficult to obtain good groupings with the Cometa 300 the reason being there is no trigger adjustment on the C300, unfortunately its trigger requires high pressure to shoot which can spoil your aim.

    I've changed the spring on my C300 many times and it was this fact of Cometa moderate quality which made me decide to invest in a C400, the latter sports two trigger settings, one for pressure and the other for distance, nice. Oh, and it likes Marksman dome pellets which are about the most low cost pellets available.

    Comment by: Darren Heywood     Posted on: 10 Sep 2011 at 05:02 PM

  • Hi,its Alan again
    Just a few more words about the fenix 400,
    People having poor accuracy problems, might like to try the following.
    First check the tightness of the barrel in the breech jaws,
    By getting a good but not over tight fit will eliminate any side to side grouping problems , especially when using a scope.
    Also. By re-crowning the muzzle if your confident ,does work.
    Must be very careful when attempting this,
    I forgot to mention crowning before in my other feedback, it does work .

    Please reply
    Alan

    Comment by: alan     Posted on: 18 Dec 2011 at 01:51 PM

  • tock's on the Premiers are Walnut, with deep rich grains, all the metal is richly blued and all are so accurate I can steadily get one holers at 20M. I highly recommend these beauties, For us on this side of the pond,,,They're one of Spain's best kept secrets. Cheer's, Andy.

    Comment by: Andrew Santi     Posted on: 13 Aug 2012 at 12:29 AM

  • I don't know what happened to the first half of my post???,Anyway's,,,I just wanted to say that I own 3 Cometas, A Fenix 400 Premier, and 2 Fusion Premiers, all in .22. Out of the box I found them to be weak, and under-powered, but I hold that to the Canadian 500fps restriction. I immediately changed the mainsprings to Crosman Quest 1000's, and the Muzzle Velocity numbers went right back to factory specs,,,,,,and then some,,all now put an H&N Baracuda Match round @ 21gr,. down-range at very close to 900fps, 900FPS!!!!w/a 21gr,. pellet!!! that's Bloody Incredible,,,and that's with them already being broken in with 5-600 pellets through them. The stocks on the Premier's are all Walnut, They use the cheaper Beech on/in their regular line-up, They're all very accurate, and the Fusion's have built in air-strippers. Excellent Quality,,10X better than anything Crosman ever put out, That's for Sure! Cheer's, and Happy Huntin', Andy.

    Comment by: Andrew Santi     Posted on: 13 Aug 2012 at 12:42 AM

  • I own Weihrauch HW97k, Webley Raider, FWB 300s, Gunpower Stealth, Umarex 850 Magnum, Drulov du10 and Drulov Eagle, and finally, my Cometa Fenix 400 compact.
    I now live in Spain and have recently purchased a previously owned Fenix 400 and can't believe how good it is. I enjoy distance shooting, and the cometa is by far better than all the others in power and accuracy at 150 meters. If I'm going bunny bashing, then my first choice is the cometa. Although its only .177, it packs a hell of a punch, putting out roughly 21ft/lbs. it loves Baracuda Match extra heavy and Bisley LRG'S, which are also good for hunting, as they pack a good punch.
    I only paid 100 euros for the cometa, which makes it the cheapest and best in my collection.
    I personally would highly recommend that everyone has one of these cometas in their collection.

    Comment by: Dave Scrivens     Posted on: 12 Jan 2013 at 02:02 AM

  • Hi there I use a 400 for pest controland cannot fault it its compact shoots well and kills what its aimed at I allso own other guns but for its handling I like my 400 carbine just for ease of use and not lugging a divers bottle about

    Comment by: Brian Broadhurst     Posted on: 28 Jul 2013 at 05:14 PM

  • There's a lot to be said for a compact springer for a spot of pest control.

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 28 Jul 2013 at 09:20 PM

  • interested to read all these comments about the fenix. i dont want to admit to how many rifles i have owned in my time in the sport (my wife might see this post). all i can add is , that each rifle is to be taken on its own merits/shortfalls, no point in comparing the 400 to a 97k or tx200 because they are different , both in layout and weight. i have circled round the 400 for a long time and considered getting one. i owned a 300 and to be honest it was.....well lets just say it was not suited to me. but eventually i came across a 400s fenix that was just about the right price for me to take a gamble on . i am a guy who prefers a heavy rifle , and has always stayed that way , i have competitioned , hunted mainly with 77s 97s tx200s etc.so this was either a major mad money wasting moment , or a good punt. It arrived (a used 400s) i could have cried ! it was not what i expected ! the BEECH stock although advertised as perfect was far from perfect ! and it looked and felt way too light (compared to my .25 77) to even blow out a candle ! so with a gutted feeling i decided ti strip and stain the beech stock , which turned out to be very well oiled walnut ! and eneded up being one of the nicest stocks i have ever dealt with , after a clean down and 4 coats of oil it looks better than it probably looked ever. the action had no faults so i decded to put it back together and slam a scope on it. first loading was a bit confusing , the barrel pulled down with the kind of solid action that is equal to a weihrauch break barrel. i was just waiting for the "click" where the sear engaged,,,,,,,,,no click ! . so i released the barrel very gently , and found that it had cocked, so good sturdy cocking it certainly had. loading and firing the rifle was even simpler. sure i have used better triggers on comp rifles , but i would have to be really anal in pointing out the minute points of difference, this trigger is more than capable of a light and predictable let off, and the shot cycle is a dream , the pellet had left and hit before you even had time to think , accuracy is fine. i can get 1/4 groups at 35 yds , which for someone who has shot their first ever little rifle is ok. i now feel happy to hunt with it , and it has claimed a good score. in short (which i have not been) this gun is a little gem, it is a simple , no frills , accurate and damn good looking and well built alternative to a lot of higher priced (but no better built or performing ) stuff on the market.

    Comment by: bob     Posted on: 28 Aug 2013 at 11:49 PM

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