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- Last updated: 07/11/2023
Mark Camoccio shoots a new budget airgun from Accumax; the S1
I think it’s fair to say I was hooked on shooting shows from a very early age, and when I tell you I spent nine hours just on Gunmakers Row when visiting the Game Fair with my dad, back in the late ‘80s, you’ll get some idea! We lost all track of time, couldn’t quite believe it, and saw very little of the rest of the fair as a result.
The Great British Shooting Show, now well established at the NEC, Birmingham, is another classic event to be drooled over, and in my professional capacity, I’ve often been packed off to peruse all the latest airgun content, with a view to reporting the highlights. This year was no exception, and after arriving at the Anglo Spanish Imports stand (ASI), I was met by quite the most enthusiastic sales chap you could hope to meet. ASI’s Regional Sales chap, Trevor Dolmanm, to be precise, and the sight of him holding court had me intrigued as to the cause of the hubbub. To be honest, the sight of the rack of humble break-barrel sporters just behind him seemed a bit of a letdown. However, talk of an ultra-smooth action and great accuracy soon had me booking a test rifle for delivery.
Accumax is the ‘own brand’ label owned by ASI, and the new S1 models are traditional spring-powered airguns made in Turkey. There are three models in the line-up, all featuring the same action but offering different stocks. My test model, the S1, gets black synthetic, there’s the W1 with a wood finish, and finally the C1, with a camo effect.
At £150 retail, the Accumax S1 certainly fits the budget spec., but any of the three options stays very affordable. A synthetic stock keeps weight down, and the configuration is stylish too, with a contoured grip, sleek angular forend, and soft recoil pad. Negatives to report concern the sloping, ultra-low cheekpiece (fine for open sights, but not so great for scope use), and the metal-to-stock-fit, which was poor. I suspect this was just my test gun, but it does mean quality control is a bit iffy.
All the metal is chemically blued, and cost savings at the finishing stage mean it does look a bit lacklustre. Nit-picking apart though, let’s remember this is a budget gun delivering the time-honoured break-barrel springer configuration, which is a byword for fun and ease of use.
This model includes fibre optic open sights, and that’s very welcome on this grade of rifle. Look at that foresight assembly, and there’s a bright green element for the post. The rear sight, however, comes supplied loose inside the box. Some shooters may just slap a scope into place, but if you do decide to experience the ‘irons’, then the rear sight base first needs to be opened up slightly by using a screwdriver. This sounds a bit basic, and I suppose it is, but once the base is widened, the sight should snap into place on the dovetail rails. Tighten the two bolts, and you now have a good sight picture and dual finger wheels to make easy adjustments.
And so, to the action. Breaking the barrel and cocking the action is both smooth and easy. An auto-safety sets itself at the rear of the action, and there’s also an internal anti-bear trap system, to prevent the barrel flying up accidentally. A minor irritation is that this means the action cannot be de-cocked at any time. Another slight negative is the chamfer in the lip of the barrel, and this means all pellets are a loose fit and drop straight in. The upside is it’s easy to chamber a pellet, whilst the downside is the way pellets will drop straight out of the breech unless the gun is pointed down as the barrel locks up. Not a major problem, just bear it in mind.
Unsurprisingly, we get a basic, non-adjustable, pseudo-2-stage trigger, but whilst this is creepy, if you squeeze gently through the initial sear movement, then the final let-off is reasonable and par for the course.
OK, so just how does the Accumax S1 shape up on the range? Well, let me start by stating that there is significant recoil, yet undoubtedly, there are recoil-calming devices at work inside, to tame any excesses. Consistency was pretty good, with an initial 10-shot string using Weihrauch FT Exact Jumbo pellets showing a total spread of 24 fps. Switching to SMK Black Pointed pellets made a big difference though, trimming any variation to a superb 10 fps overall.
Evaluating accuracy proved a little more demanding, and that sloping cheekpiece needs discussion. As mentioned, it’s fine when shooting with the open sights, but fit a scope up top, and you may find you need just a bit of padding. On test, when I’m evaluating spring-powered guns, I always adopt my proven, over-the-arm Field Target sitting position, since it’s not only stable, but it allows the gun to recoil and move as necessary. However, in the case of the Accumax S1, that drop-away cheekpiece just didn’t seem to be making enough contact with my face for support. Initial groups of around 1.25” over 25 yards, weren’t a disaster for this grade of gun, yet I knew I wasn’t giving the gun a fair crack.
Now, I’m aware that dedicated cheek pads can be bought cheaply for £20-£30, and I’ve had one (I think from a company called Tourbon), in my cupboard for some time. It just requires a neoprene cover to be pulled on over the butt, and then a simple foam piece to be inserted underneath to suit. With the padding set in position, the S1 felt different again, and those groups instantly closed to just 0.5”! Blimey, that’s impressive. To be fair, shooting the gun as standard, contact was better from the standing or kneeling position, but an extremely valid point was made, nonetheless.
OK, maybe ASI did slightly overegg the Accumax S1’s performance, but there’s no doubting it’s solidly put together, super-stylish, and carries plenty of potential. A great first gun or budget rifle, and there’s even ASI’s lifetime warranty to consider!