Daystate Huntsman Classic Carbine
Is there no end to this gun manufacturer’s innovation? Pete Wadeson tests the Daystate Huntsman Classic Carbine PCP
Trust Daystate not to rest on their laurels, as barely has the new look Hunstman been resurrected and upgraded, and I’m already testing what the company claim is the most efficient and attractive version yet.
Quite a few outward features have changed from the previous model and Daystate have brought a new metal to the market for the breech block and now only manufacture one version. That being the shortened carbine model here on test. Incidentally, as many will already know, the air reservoir now sits very much lower in the newly designed woodwork, in fact side on it looks almost enshrouded by the walnut stock. Also though this is a carbine, the barrel hasn’t been shortened but the barrel shroud has. Some readers initially (like me) may be scratching their heads on that one because the end of the shroud holds the integral primary silencer. A baffle stack set after the tube with a ‘special’ deflector baffle. However, they were able to cut the shroud down by removing a baffle as the deflector baffle was so efficient that the loss of one baffle made little difference to muzzle report. The muzzle is now screw cut (so no need to purchase an optional silencer adaptor) to take a ½” UNF female silencer. Ideal for the can I used on test which was one of Daystate’s own Carbon Fibre Reflex design silencers.
Italian style stock
You can choose your stock from what Daystate refer to as 2.5 Grade or 3.5 Grade walnut, but obviously the price varies. Stocks are made for the rifle by the famous Minelli Company of Italy - as indicated by the neat circled letter ‘m’ logo at the rear of either side of the pistol grip set in one of the panels of stylish and very fine laser cut chequering.
The righthand roll over cheekpiece is substantial, high and feels very comfortable when shooting due to the generous amount of wood used for the thick and stylish roll over comb.
A neat thumb channel at the rear offers two main holds while allowing access to the manual safety lever. Incidentally a dedicated left hand stock is available.
The forend is quite slim and curves inwards to the semi-Schnabel tip. A similar design of chequering is applied as twin panels on either side and on the underside is a neat air gauge. The rifle also has a rosewood end cap with maple spacer at the pistol grip, and is nicely finished for shoulder fit with a ventilated black rubber butt pad.
As you’d expect the rifle is charged via a bayonet connection at the front of the air reservoir, sensibly protected and covered by a matte black metal push fit end cap.
I’ve mentioned in the past that Daystate rifles are set up to be as precise and consistent as possible with each individual gun’s recommended fill pressure being given after testing. On the .22 calibre rifle on test this was stated as 180bar. These fill guides should be adhered to, and so committed are Daystate to giving the customer the best service they can that they etch and whiten this working pressure on the side of the barrel shroud. Whichever fill is recommended you will get approximately 80 shots in the .22 calibre or 70 in .177.
The Huntsman Classic’s action is purely mechanical and uses a rear mounted cocking bolt to run the 10-shot auto indexing removable rotary magazine or alternatively to load a pellet singly by hand using the magnetic single-shot loading tray. The 10-shot removable magazine has been upgraded and now sits lower in the action to facilitate optimum scope fitting. It also slips much easier into the breech with bushes to guide it into position for use and a magnet now included in the design to hold it securely in place. To ensure no loss of strength and durability at the breechblock Daystate now use a material known as Ergal 70/75, as the block is machined quite deep to allow the magazine to sit lower. This aluminium alloy contains titanium, magnesium copper and zinc plus other metals that give it an unrivalled level of strength at this key area. In fact Daystate first used it on the Platinum rifle and now it’s used for all rifles they build. Tech heads will be surprised to note it gives 80% more rigidity over previous breech blocks.
The rifle is 36-inches long (without an optional silencer fitted) and under the shroud and barrel band it has a semi-floating 17” Lothar Walther tube. Although the integral silencer even on the carbine model does reduce report to an acceptable level, fit an extra silencer of choice thanks to the universal ½” UNF muzzle thread and it becomes deathly quiet in use.
Due to the lightness of the rifle (just 6lbs in weight un-scoped) and the shorter overall dimensions (only 40.25” with the Reflex can on-board), it balances and handles marvellously.
The Harper Slingshot system
The consistency, accuracy and high shot count of the Huntsman are in part due to the Harper Patented ‘Slingshot Hammer Valve.’ The system gives no ‘bounce’ or wasted air. The slingshot hammer is contained within a cage, both moving forward under pressure from the internal forward hammer when the trigger is released. Soft buffers bring the cages forward motion to a rapid halt allowing the hammer within to carry on and strike open the main valve under inertia. This then allows a specific amount of air pressure to be released from a secondary air reservoir thus sending the pellet down the tube. A return spring and air pressure immediately shut the valve upon firing while the hammer moves rearwards to eliminate what would be the initial stages of bounce. Even this is aided in efficiency by an anti-bounce spring so the hammer has no chance in reconnecting with the valve a second time during taking a shot. This is the heart of what Daystate term the new Mk4 internal valving system.
Down on the range
The rifle came for test with an MTC 3 -12 X 44 Mamba on board in a set of Daystate’s Blue-Print mounts – two very good products in their own right - and they complement the Huntsman Carbine perfectly.
Using Daystate Rangemaster .22 calibre pellets, a ragged single hole quickly became the norm at a set zero of 25yds, hardly opening out at 35yds and still grouped within ¼” at 40yds. The high level of accuracy is aided by the upgraded internals, quality barrel and certainly the superb 2-stage adjustable trigger unit. The set back polished stainless steel blade trips the sears with a match like quality.
Initially the Huntsman was brought back into production to cater for the airgunner who preferred his PCP’s to be more traditional in style. I feel that Daystate has used the perfect combination of modern technology, ergonomic stock design and attention to detail to produce a sleek looking, accurate, fast handling carbine that will become a favourite with fans of both modern looking air rifles and traditionalists.
I did ponder on the name, as in my book this is nothing like the Huntsman people remember and would deserve to be given a name of its own. But I suppose it’s nice to see the company are keeping the ‘Huntsman’ legacy alive, but this is a totally different air rifle to any that that you would presently find on the market.
|Model||Daystate Huntsman Classic Carbine
|Type||Bolt action, Multi-Shot PCP
|Calibre||.22 on test .177 and .20 available
|Stock||Grade 2.5 or 3.5 Walnut sporter
|Sights||No, but grooved for scope mounting
|Overall length||36” (without moderator)
|Price||£707 for Grade 2.5 Add £40 for 3.5 Grade Walnut
|Optional extras||Airstream Carbon Fibre IV Reflex Silencer £55
Spare magazines £42
Single-shot pellet tray: £11
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates