Falcon Prairie Classic Carbine
Pete Wadeson tests the new Falcon Prairie Classic Carbine multi-shot PCP in the Thumbhole Profile Stock and reckons this time they have got a real high flyer…
Falcon Pneumatics has had a few ups and downs in recent years. Now they are under the wing of NSP Engineering Ltd and have made a bold step forward. I say this as NSP is also home to Air Arms, but sensibly these brands are kept as separate entities.
With the release of the new look and action Prairie series of rifles, Falcon can once again shine. In effect you now have eight base models to choose from in Classic or Bull Barrel format, as well as single or multi-shot. Add to that you have a choice of action lengths and stock variations and that adds up to a comprehensive range. This means you can dictate the build spec to your own needs, which is a great selling point.
Sleeker and stylish
Inspection shows that this is not Falcon’s original thumbhole (profile) design, as the new timber looks more sleek and luxurious. If you want ‘bare bones skinny’, you can still opt for the timeless Lighthunter skeletal layout. However, it’s the thumbhole Profile stock of our test rifle that I prefer. One major reason is it has a full ‘dog ear’ right hand roll over cheek piece even though the butt section has been profiled. A clever design and one you quickly appreciate!
A thumb channel runs up the right hand side and offers two alternative holds. Here the pistol grip sits directly below the thumbhole being quite short but ending with a rosewood end cap and a discreet maple spacer. This style is continued at the tip of the forend on the semi-Schnable tip. Typically the trigger guard is integral and forms part of the deep bellied underside of the stock.
Two panels of laser-cut chequering adorn both grips and forend, with an air gauge now being standard on all Prairie Falcons. The stock is finished with a ventilated black rubber butt pad, making this rifle a joy to hold and one that effortlessly lines up on target. As regular readers know I like my thumbhole Profile stocks, and though recently I seem to praise every one I try, that for me shows how much more consideration is going into the design and manufacture of this style.
60 @ 200
To fill with air, turn the serrated edge of the fixed front cover cap to expose the stainless steel inlet hole. Plug in the probe (supplied) and inject in 200-bar and you can expect at least 60 full power shots in the .177 calibre, or approximately 80 in .22.
The 8-shot, removable magazine is new, improved and differs considerably from the original version. Now all metal, gone at last is the plastic case and inner drum that needed the easily forgotten or lost ‘gimbal’ to load it. This brass insert prevented pellets from dropping straight out the other side when being loaded. To cock and load the rifle you still need to fully pull back the stainless steel bolt and drop it back down into the rear keeper slot machined into the right of the action block. The new magazine is outwardly the same size and shape but now shows a retaining O- ring, so pellets don’t fall through the chambers.
To fill the magazine - rotate the inner drum clockwise until it comes to a natural stop with an empty chamber showing. Place a pellet into the exposed empty chamber, then turn it anti-clockwise filling each chamber as they are revealed. When full, continue to rotate in the same direction until it comes to a natural stop. The hole through which the pellets were loaded should now be partially blocked by the outer magazine casing so they can’t possibly fall out, even though they are also held by the rubber ‘O’ ring.
These simple but long overdue changes mean the magazine is a cinch to fill and once fitted sits much more snugly. Equally, now the indexing ‘gear’ operated by the cycling of the action is far less likely to cause errors. Reason being, the gearing now mates positively with metal instead of a plastic counterpart. The difference this makes is quite simply amazing and due to the well-formed cocking bolt being so easy to operate, the Falcon multi-shot is now trouble free in use. Full marks on that - though it has taken quite some time to put right.
The trigger is still the same 2-stage, multi-adjustable, match-grade unit with a wide and nicely curved, metal blade. The safety catch lever is set higher and recessed into the left rear of the guard slightly in front of the thumbhole cut-out. Though it can only be set when the action is cocked, once pushed forward for SAFE it can’t be accidently operated by the trigger finger as it pulls the blade to make the shot. Plus it can be manually reset as required.
The action block shows an integral dovetail for scope mounting. When fitted the magazine sits slightly high above the top of the action but not overly so. It should therefore suits any size of optic when set in the correct height mounts.
I used a Hawke Airmax 3 – 9 X 50 and after screwing the dedicated Prairie Falcon Silencer upfront, in no time at all the rifle produced tight little finger nail size clusters at 30 yds. Hardly surprising given the Lothar Walther barrel, superb trigger and rock steady hold afforded by the thumbhole stock configuration.
Iny or outy?
The silencer is no slouch either, as it capably tames muzzle report and visually suits the rifle too. On this model the moderator screws directly onto to the muzzle so adds length, which pushes the tape to a reasonably long 41.2”. In my book it’s no longer a true carbine! Though having said that the rifle doesn’t feel front heavy, neither should it at only a tad over 6lbs and that’s with a relatively large scope onboard. On the bull barrel version the shroud features an integral primary unit, plus there’s a thread so you can fit a secondary too.
In a nutshell the Falcon Prairie Classic Carbine in the walnut thumbhole Profile stock is a highly desirable, accurate, lightweight and superbly balanced PCP hunter and now the upgrades have been implemented I for one expect to see many more multi-shot Falcons flying out of the shops.
• Love the new TH stock
• Better magazine system
• Is it a true carbine?
|Name||Falcon Prairie Classic Carbine|
|Type||Bolt action cocking and loading probe PCP Multi-Shot|
|Calibre||.177 on test, .22 available|
|Stock||Walnut thumbhole profile sporter|
|Optional Extra||‘Prairie Silencer’ £37.95
Spare magazines: 8-shot £27.74
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates