Norica N.A.C 2020
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- Last updated: 15/12/2022
Fans of CO2-powered airguns won’t need me to remind them that the medium opens up a whole world of entertainment. With the power source readily available, designers are effectively allowed free reign without any of the restrictions imposed by heavy mechanisms, such as the traditional spring piston arrangement. Instead, we get semi-automatic, multi-shot systems that put the fun back into informal shooting sessions.
On show here is one of the new breeds of CO2 pistols from the Spanish brand, Norica. The N.A.C. 2020 is a neat little pistol that actually comes as a boxed set, giving the shooter everything they need to get started from the off. Inside the hard case, there’s the pistol itself, a box containing 5x 12-gram CO2 capsules, a tin of 250 Norica Match .177 pellets, a barrel clearing tool and a large Allen key.
The N.A.C. 2020, despite the rather uninspiring name, is a faithful replica of the Makarov pistol. Ignoring a few dinks to my test pistol, which I suspect had been used as a demo model, the finish and level of manufacture overall, is pleasingly high. It’s an all-metal construction too, save for the grip panels, and with a weight of 1.8lbs, it feels very authentic in the aim.
We are talking low-powered multi-shot pistols here, so grab some safety glasses, just to be ultra-safe, as ricochets can be more likely at the relatively close range at which these guns will be used. I’m happy to say that this pistol is .177 pellet-fed only, so any of the added dangers of BBs are well and truly side-stepped.
Where safety is concerned, it’s worth reiterating that once CO2 is in play as such, be aware that rapidly escaping gas can become super cold and ‘burn’ the skin, so the usual rules of minimal contact with the capsule when dumping volume or de-pressurizing at the end of a charge, should be adhered to.
Time to get started and that means loading pellets, along with the 12-gram CO2 capsule to power the action. To release the magazine assembly, first, push back the spring-loaded catch at the base of the grip, then pull the stick clear. To load the capsule, (from the left side only) first slacken off the pressure from the large screw at the base with the Allen key provided. Drop a fresh 12-gram capsule into the chamber and gently nip up the screw until there’s a small hiss, signifying the capsule has been pierced and gas is now pressurizing the system.
Now, twist the twin rotary magazines so that the apertures are exposed at the side, and push home pellets head first into each aperture, twisting the rotary heads to expose empty chambers as you go. There are effectively 2x six shot mags. The top one will be used first. For the record, I have seen this style of mag where that top 6+6 rotary assembly actually pulls away from the body to allow for easier loading, but it didn’t want to come free here, and to be honest, it’s easy enough to fill the rotaries in situ. Another point worth mentioning here is that the flat-headed Norica Match pellets supplied, chambered and cycled perfectly on test, but as with any magazine system, be mindful that pellets are feeding efficiently. If you suddenly get a blockage or problem, it may be that the pellets are too long in the body, so try an alternative design.
Re-insert the whole mag assembly into the pistol body until it snaps into position with a satisfying click, and we’re ready to start. There’s a manual safety catch to the rear of the left side and this shows red when in ‘fire’ mode. Sights-wise, the N.A.C. 2020 gets fixed cast open sights and given the fine foresight post, the sight picture is surprisingly refined. Blat away the first six shots as fast as you can pull the trigger, and there’s another six inside waiting. Just release the dummy magazine assembly, pull it clear, twist the rotary carrier to the other rotary mag and snap the whole assembly back inside the grip. Now you have six more shots at the ready!
The trigger is double-action, but the pressure involved to trip the system is fairly mild. I like the fact that Norica has supplied the barrel-clearing tool too, since low-powered CO2 guns are always vulnerable to getting a blockage in the barrel, as residual power in the capsule nears its end. Carry on firing at this stage, and inevitably the odd pellet will get stuck, simply lacking enough grunt to send it into flight. It’s not a problem as such, just a drawback of CO2. Should this happen, the small tool can be quickly deployed, which can be inserted from the muzzle to gently push the pellet down the barrel and out through the mechanism. Peace of mind is therefore all part of the kit. Nice one.
Over the chronograph, the highest velocity recorded was 379 fps, equating to 2.3 ft/lbs of energy, with a 345 fps/1.9 ft/lbs average over the first 60 shots. For fun shooting, where the dip in velocity is of less consequence, I managed around 84 shots in total from a 12-gram CO2 capsule. Not bad going given that some pistols are far thirstier than that.
So, what about group sizes? Well, interestingly, Norica advertises these pistols as having a German-made rifled barrel, and with pellets rather than BBs in use, accuracy is really quite respectable. Representative groups on test, over 10 yards and from a rest, were better than 1.5”, and as far as handling and feel overall, this Norica is just great fun to shoot.
That distinctive profile will add to the satisfaction of ownership for many, and with fairly simple operation, competent build quality and a well-thought-out design, the N.A.C. 2020 comes highly recommended.
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Clelfnons22 Apr 2023 at 06:56 PM