EB XVI modular PCP air rifle
By: Pete Wadeson
Pete Wadeson tries the EB XVI modular PCP air rifle and finds a familiar looking design that has now transformed into a force to be reckoned with...
There’s no point denying the fact that the EB XVI (from Edgar Brothers) is based on the now discontinued S16 EVO and is still manufactured by the same gun manufacturer in Serbia. However, that’s where the similarity ends, as the EB XVI has undergone a major internal and somewhat external change to make the rifle perform as efficiently as any PCP should. Indeed Edgar Brothers have spent a lot of time, effort and a considerable investment into helping make it into what can justifiably be described as a ‘beast of a machine.’
Its looks don’t really betray its weight (8.9lb base rifle) but ‘tricked up’ with all the optional extras that Edgar Brothers recommend and can supply for the rifle - as shown here - and you’re lugging a tad over 14lbs of rifle around.
So take my advice, get the bipod and use the pre-fitted sling swivels for a sling. Like its predecessor the EB XVI has to be the most military looking air rifle available. Built entirely from metal and high-grade synthetics and polymers it still breaks down into component parts and comes complete in a quality, discreet and stylish canvas carry case.
No need to worry about fitting the silencer shroud as the rifle comes in two major component parts. The rear mounted buddy bottle is separate yet the mainframe holding the action 14.5” barrel and barrel shroud is fitted together. The 38.5” long rifle came for review with all the optional extras already supplied and ready fitted. An extensive collection of Weaver ‘style’ rails adorn the upper part of the action, and both sides and underside of the forward section rear of the bull barrel. But first, the buddy bottle fitment and its fill procedure.
The buddy bottle is charged off the rifle (adaptor supplied) and takes a 200-bar recommended fill. The 400cc buddy bottle is then screwed into the rear of the rifle action whereupon the rearward facing air gauge on the action will immediately show the rifle is in the ‘green’ portion indicating a full bottle and engagement. Expect approximately 280-shots per charge in .22 calibre (as per test the rifle) or 230 from the .177 calibre version, before the needle drops into the red indicating it’s time for a top up.
The buddy bottle screws into the rear of the action at a slight upwards angle, making it more comfortable to shoulder as it undertakes its dual purpose as power source, cheekpiece and butt pad. No cold steel is felt on the cheek due to the rubber sleeve with the surprisingly comfortable integrated butt pad. This also has a sling swivel attachment point at the rear just forward of the nicely curved butt pad. The other swivel stud is found on the forward underside section of the mainframe.
The body of the EB XVI is metal and alloy but lengthy synthetic strips with square shape recesses have been integrated onto the sides of the ‘forend’ to provide a relatively comfortable grip. However, you can fit an optional military style drop down ‘Grip Pod’ which includes a spring mounted bipod, the very same as used on the SA80 – fit to the under slung rail instead of the traditional ‘pod.’
The sharp drop down pistol grip is military in design with front finger ridging and is manufactured from a very hand friendly rubberised ‘soft touch’ synthetic material. All combine to make the EB XVI surprisingly comfortable to hold and certainly affords the shooter a rock steady aiming platform.
The ‘in-line’ bolt action runs a familiar design 16-shot ‘clip’ double rotary removable magazine mechanism. To load the magazine, you first need to pull back the straight pull bolt action, though it does need to be turned up from a forward keeper slot before allowing its rearward travel. Then simply press the magazine retaining catch seen as a large stainless steel push in drum shape catch on the right of the action and the magazine easily ‘drops out.’ Due to this, have your hand in a position to catch it in the palm of the hand as you operate the retaining catch with your thumb or forefinger, as the operation can be done one handed. Once the magazine is out of the rifle, with the flat face of the stainless steel casing facing you, fill all the empty chambers of both eight shot drums. Pellet chambers are exposed by manually indexing the ‘drum’ shape duo around and even this operation feels more positive and smooth due to the phosphor bronze bearing that the magazine drums rotate around. Once filled, simply clip the magazine back up into the action, push the cocking bolt forward and return to the original position - and the rifle is cocked and loaded.
The 2-stage adjustable trigger is certainly upgraded from what has gone before. It’s adjustable for weight and travel, and has a wide very nicely curved stainless steel blade. Also the manual safety button is positioned slightly above the trigger guard on the side of the metal action. The positioning and function of the ‘cross bolt’ safety is very sensible as it can be taken off by pushing in from the right, and re-setting by pushing into the other side of the action. I say this as you can disengage it using the trigger finger without your hand leaving the grip. To re-set you just use your other hand under the trigger guard to push it back in from the left of the action.
All major features operate faultlessly, the trigger releasing pellets cleanly without a hint of creep. The short throw in-line bolt action is very smooth but does require some effort to pull back to ensure the rifle is cocked, without the magazine being able to index around until the cocking cycle is fully achieved. This results in there being no possibility of double loading pellets which was a downside of the original rifle the EB XVI is based on.
As for accuracy, with all those goodies on board how could I miss? Seriously though, the original rifle was always very accurate and the latest incarnation is particularly impressive in this department.
The test rifle came already scoped up with an Opti-42 10 X 42 Tactical scope with sunshade. With this large side parallax Target Turret optic sitting mean and moodily on the very lengthy top Weaver rail I soon set a 25-yd zero. Incidentally, these rails are actually the military NATO rated STANAG 4694 specification and design. Using the Edgar’s bipod (in this case when not in use fitted so the legs fold rearward so as not to interfere with the green dot laser also shown) I easily produced ragged one-hole groups out to 35-yds. The barrel shrouds silencer definitely doesn’t disappoint either with the rifle having only a whisper report due to the new design of polymer baffles.
The EB XVI is a serious rifle but with all those whistles and bells it can also reach a serious price. However, these can be added as and if you feel that you require them, but due to the weight of the rifle I’d certainly opt for the bipod and more often use it as an ambush tool.
There’s so much more to say about the EB XVI; such as its manufactured to pass a 62,500 shot destruction test. Valve stems are manufactured from stainless steel while the valve seat is now made from PEEK polymer for a better seal, longer life and air flow performance. Not forgetting NBR ‘O’-rings being used and fitted using aerospace grade lube to improve wear and sealing properties at all temperatures. I could go on… but space restricts me to sum up by saying the EB XVI is a beast of a machine with performance levels to rival many established PCP’s. It’s extremely well built, very accurate and will certainly earn its keep and give owner satisfaction. If only I could afford the fully tricked up version…
Surefire Scout Light as used by UK MOD £469
Grip Pod as used by UK MOD £183
Edgar Brothers 9-13 Tilt Bipod £74
LaserLyte K-15 Green Laser £320
Edgar Brothers Optimate 10 X 42 Scope and Sunshade £425
Weaver Tactical Rings £42
|Model||EB XVI rifle|
|Type||Modular, multi-shot, in-line bolt action PCP|
|Calibre||.22 on test .177 available|
|Stock||Metal, Alloy and Synthetic take down|
|Sights||No open sights but ‘railed’ for scope mounting|
|Price||£799 – includes 16-shot magazine, sling swivels, canvas gunbag, 500 EB pellets and charging adaptor|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates