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Theoben Rapid Mk1

Theoben have reworked their classic Rapid Mk1, and Pat Farey reckons they’ve done a grand job

I can remember going to a CLA Game Fair in Wales many, many moons ago, and seeing my first Rapid 7 (as it was called then) being exhibited by Ben Taylor and Dave Theobold of Theoben Engineering. Like the Theoben gas-ram rifles that preceded it, the Rapid 7 was truly revolutionary, with at least two remarkable developments – a detachable, refillable ‘buddy-bottle’ air source and a working 7 shot magazine system. There had been many attempts at airgun magazines before, but this was the most commercially viable one that I had seen. To make this scene even more remarkable, was that Theoben’s stand was right alongside one that was displaying the ‘Colchester Game Keeper’ rifle, which was considered quite state-of-the-art up until then… But at this show it looked a decidedly poor relation when compared to the Theoben Rapid 7 – like a Fiat up against a Ferrari… no contest!

The Rapid 7 dominated the precharged pneumatic hunting rifle scene for sometime, before being caught up by other manufacturers, and even though Theoben constantly updated their multi-shot buddy bottle PCP concept with new ‘improved’ models, the old Rapid 7 continued to be a consistently good seller over the years. Even when a regulated high air capacity Rapid Mk II came out, the Rapid 7 continued to sell, but was now renamed the Rapid Mk1.

Upgrading the original

They say old soldiers never die, and it seems that Theoben have no intentions of letting the Rapid Mk1 fade away, and they’ve just sent us a new upgraded 2007 version of this legendary rifle.

This has always been a well respected and popular rifle, and the latest version comes with many new features as standard. The first of these is the ambidextrous walnut stock with chequered pistol grip which should give a comfortable fit for most shooters. To be fair, Theoben have always seemed to source practical stocks for their rifles, but the big differences here are that it balances well and it looks good too.

Probably the most noticable improvement is the fitting of a Mk 4 Match Grade Trigger as standard. In the past I’ve never been a fan of Theoben triggers – even their best ones – but for me this upgrade absolutely transforms the firing cycle of the rifle. There’s no getting away from the fact that the trigger is the most vital link between shooter and rifle, so if you shot well with a standard Theoben trigger unit, you’ll shoot a darn sight better with this one.

A major difference between the MkI and MkII Rapids is that the MkI retains the 280cc buddy bottle while the MkII goes for the 400cc version. Nevertheless, if you want higher capacity for your MkI, you can have a 400cc bottle as an optional extra – so that should keep everybody happy. Likewise you can order your MkI with a regulator fitted… but then if you are having all these features added, you might want to opt for a Rapid MkII instead!

Other new features on the MkI include a new high efficient inlet adaptor, a scalloped action and single shot tray for single pellet feed if required, and last but not least, a larger bolt handle.

The Hunter

Specifically designed for hunting use, this bolt action PCP is available in .177, .20 and .22 calibres and will give close on 12ft/lbs of muzzle energy. Depending on the calibre chosen, the latest Rapid Mk1 will accept a 17 shot magazine in .177, 7 or 12 shot magazine in .22 calibre, or a 12 shot in .20. The test model came with a single shot loading tray which I found OK to use, in fact I prefer it to a magazine, but others that tried it preferred taken it out and just loading direct into the barrel you couldn’t easily do with earlier MkIs.

The upgraded MK4 two stage trigger gives match performance, complementing the recoilless action to give superb accuracy potential. Just how good this potential is can be judged by the rifle’s performance at ETL FT shooting ground, where Brett Wilkinson consistently hit a 12mm reset disc at 55 yards – yes you read that right, just 12mm… that’s ½” in old money, although he cheated by bench resting the rifle…

There are plenty of Theoben fans at ETL, so I asked what they thought still made the Rapid MkI so popular with hunters, even though much more sophisticated Theobens are available. The answer was simple; the Rapid MkI is virtually bombproof, fairly unsophisticated (less to go wrong) and extremely reliable – all you could want for a hunting tool. One of the older club members, Don, who was installed on the plinking range on opening day and has been there ever since, has put an estimated 300,000 pellets through his Rapid, only occassionally having to change seals and a hammer spring – not bad, huh?

The new Rapid Mk1 is fairly compact at just under 40” in length, while the lighter 280cc bottle helps keep the weight down to under 3kilos. The test gun was supplied with a Vortex silencer, which certainly kept the muzzle quiet, but you can opt for an Evolution moderator, or no moderator at all if you so wish.

Other optional extras are a regulator for even more consistent performance, a larger 400cc buddy bottle for a higher shot capacity, sling swivels, gun bag, 12ltr air bottle and decanting kit, and much more. The new 2007 Rapid Mk1 price starts at around £655 (without moderator) and is available from most good gunshops.

Technical Specifications
Model Theoben Rapid Mk1
Type Pre-charged pneumatic (buddy bottle)
Action Bolt operated single or multi-shot
Calibre .177 on test (.20 and .22 also available)
Trigger Two stage adjustable with auto/resettable safety
Barrel length 16"
Stock Ambidextrous walnut sporter with rubber recoil pad
Total length 39.5"
Weight 6.7lbs
Other features No open sights, but comes with fitted scope mounts and Allen key
7 shot rotary magazine or single shot loading tray
Options Vortex Silencer (as featured on test model)
Evolution Silencer
Regulator
400cc buddy bottle
Price Rapid MKI with Vortex Silencer £687.00 (model on test)
Rapid MKI without silencer £655.00
Rapid MKI with Evolution Silencer £672.00

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

Gun Mart Shooters Forum - Get Involved in the Discussion!
User Comments
  • i have just bought a theoben rapid 7 mk1 i got the gun,3-12x50 hawk sights,7 shot mag,12 shot mag, a guage on gun to see how much air is in,a vortex silencer,paper work to say that it came out of the factory feb 2010,a divers bottle,a bag and a tin of pellets all for £600 what do you think?

    Comment by: stevie     Posted on: 17 May 2010 at 05:07 PM

  • Welll done, that's a bargain.

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 18 May 2010 at 01:40 AM

  • Hi can you tell me what shop you used to get that deal please.

    Regards
    Chris.

    Comment by: chris     Posted on: 28 May 2010 at 02:43 PM

  • i didnt buy it from a shop i got it off a mate of mine

    Comment by: stevie     Posted on: 06 Jun 2010 at 11:01 AM

  • Theoben Rapid Mk1 is the best thing since sliced bread. I have used a 30ft/lbs R7 since 2000 and would never be with out. Got to be the best vermin gun in FAC air IMO.

    Comment by: Joe Bloggs     Posted on: 10 Oct 2010 at 06:59 PM

  • hello there what is the average lengths of the stocks on these rapids anyone??thanks

    Comment by: jim     Posted on: 11 Nov 2010 at 08:16 PM

  • What do you mean by stock length?: Butt plate to forend tip, just the wood or the 'reach to pull' (butt to trigger blade)?

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 12 Nov 2010 at 11:11 AM

  • ello pat ,the length of the wooden stock less butt plate,thanks.

    Comment by: jim     Posted on: 12 Nov 2010 at 11:43 AM

  • Ive got a Theo en elan and I'd like to know has anybody upgraded the buddy bottle and stock

    Comment by: Mr staples     Posted on: 17 Apr 2012 at 12:29 AM

  • Can u tell me where I can get spare parts for my rapid seven as its the older type as I've been told i may have to order from USA can anyone help me with this situation it is a .22 2009

    Comment by: Dave brown     Posted on: 12 Jan 2013 at 07:59 PM

  • Hi Dave, What parts do you require?

    Comment by: Troll Hunter     Posted on: 12 Jan 2013 at 08:34 PM

  • Hi I am looking for abottle inlet adaptor for a .22and also the larger cocking bolt can u give me prices for these bits and a pressure gauge fitment to many thanks Dave

    Comment by: Dave brown     Posted on: 13 Jan 2013 at 08:46 PM

  • I am looking for a bottel inlet adaptor a larger bolt handle and a pressure gauge can I have prices for these items many thanks Dave

    Comment by: Dave brown     Posted on: 13 Jan 2013 at 09:40 PM

  • Hi
    I've just bought a rapid mk1 .22 serial number 020202 wondered if anybodycould tel age and where's a good place for general spares now Theoben shut ?

    Regards
    Andy

    Comment by: andy Deakin     Posted on: 16 Jan 2013 at 12:33 AM

  • We are trying to find a UK source, but you can try the following;
    Terry@trobb.f9.co.uk
    http://www.theobenusa.com/index.html
    http://www.rapid7ownersclub.com/
    http://www.theoben-rapid.co.uk/forums/

    Comment by: pat farey     Posted on: 17 Jan 2013 at 01:05 AM

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