Air Arms MPR 10M Sporter
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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
With the dust now firmly settled on a unanimously well received Olympic Games, even old cynics like my good self have to applaud the organization and effort involved. OK; Bisley didn’t receive the shooting legacy it deserved, but this travesty aside, the proceedings overall brought wide grins of satisfaction all round.
Of course these major events always serve to fire the imagination, and the shooting sports in general should benefit from heightened interest as a result. With television even managing to cover the majority of disciplines, the hotly contested indoor world of 10 Metre Air Rifle, gained a platform rarely experienced before.
So what if this particular branch of our sport appeals? Just what is the next step? One thing’s for sure - a glance at the top exponents doing battle at such prestigious gatherings, soon reveals some specialized kit, requiring considerable investment. Indeed £2000- £3000 is quite possible these days, so what about newcomers who simply don’t have the means for such an outlay at the early stages? Well my test rifle here just maybe the answer, and it’s an intriguing prospect. It’s one of the latest models from Air Arms, and it’s aimed fairly and squarely at the novice shot, including youngsters, who wish to get involved in indoor target shooting.
What this S400 MPR 10Metre model offers, is a simplified format, with features to assist the target shooter, and an inherently accurate action to reward improvement. The configuration is scaled down too, so overall weight is kept to an acceptable level. The fact that it is built around the award winning and superbly engineered S400 action, is a significant plus point too, and whilst it is undoubtedly derivative, there’s plenty on offer, to satisfy novice and seasoned competitor alike, with many changes from the original blueprint.
Where the standard S400 offers full power, this MPR 10M version produces around 5.5ft/lbs; which is not only ideal and wholly in keeping with its intended discipline, but obviously results in a far higher shot count. Simple physics dictates that lower power means less air used per shot - and with around 120 shots quoted from the manufacturers, any budding competitor can rest assured the rifle is good for an extended practise session.
The S400 MPR 10Metre is extremely well appointed. It’s a bolt action, single shot rifle, complete with target sights, target stock, and a semi match trigger. So let’s look at just how those features shape up in detail.
This 10metre model looks familiar, yet strikingly different, and there’s a reason for that. First impressions inevitably focus on that rather smart white poplar woodwork, and whilst it follows the standard Air Arms MPR pattern, the less dense, and therefore lighter wood helps trim further ounces from the overall weight, as well as giving the rifle it’s rather unique looks.
One feature of the standard full powered MPR is the unusually short rear stock section. Indeed whilst often recommending this rifle, I would point out this curious feature as the one drawback. Here, with this junior target variant, that detail is a major positive; and as young shooters grow into it, so the stock can be lengthened accordingly. Everything’s modular, and where these guns come fitted with a plastic spacer kit and butt pad, the company’s full- blown, metal butt hook can be added further down the line if deemed necessary.
Having the combination of an adjustable butt pad and cheek piece is excellent - with the result that the shooter can make the rifle fit their build and stance, and not vice versa. One minor irritation though, comes with the fact that the butt needs a screwdriver to adjust, whilst the cheek piece uses an allen bolt. Why they can’t be standardized, I’m not sure. The configuration though, is spot-on, with that full 90 degree drop-down target grip, coupled with the deep box section just forward of the trigger, combining to give perfect support and control. Further attention to detail comes with the addition of an accessory rail, recessed into the stock’s underside. To this can be added counterweights, or a bipod for example; and with the further option of an internal rail for weight adjustment, project ‘MPR 10Metre’ has clearly been well considered.
One reservation concerns the charging procedure; where Air Arms have curiously departed from their excellent ‘T’bar on- board valve fitting, in favour of a removable cylinder. With this configuration, charging requires the cylinder to be unscrewed, the cylinder then screwed into the brass adaptor supplied, and this whole assembly then needs to be screwed directly into a divers bottle, to receive 200bar. A little clumsy if you ask me, but most full-on match rifles follow this route, so I’ll say no more on the subject, as it may well be a required feature in this highly regulated sport. An in-line 20 micron filter sees that no foreign bodies enter the system, whilst a ressure gauge (or manometer), fitted to the front of the cylinder, means residual air pressure can be observed at all times.
Obviously a few components are utilized across the range, and that snazzy blue anodised breech block is pure S400; as is that classic subtle satin finish bolt handle. In keeping with the full power MPR, this model utilizes a beefed up barrel, which then sits within a support, fixed to the stock. For peace of mind, many shooters, given the vagaries of pneumatic systems in general, will probably opt to remove the support, preferring to see the barrel totally free floating, yet in practise, little or no effect should be noticed. The thinking is of course that minute contraction and expansion of the cylinder as pressure changes, can influence the barrels alignment. However, with the support in this case well clear of the cylinder, this phenomenon should be laid to rest.
Ongoing improvements to the genuine 2-stage trigger that features throughout the S400 range, means that this model sports an advanced design, capable of precise, and reasonably light settings, working at or near its optimum. Add in the adjustable plastic trigger blade, lifted from the flagship EV2 model, and the result is serious performance, designed to lift an average shot to places he or she hadn’t expected.
10 Metre Air Rifle is fought out using an open foresight in conjunction with a rear dioptre. The dioptre can be positioned as desired along the dovetail rails, and requires the shooters eye to view the target through a small aperture, little more than a pin hole. For the record, the dioptre itself as supplied (and I suspect bought in by Air Arms as an assembly from an external source) had a sealed aperture, having failed to be punctured at the manufacturing stage. A quick prick with a needle soon resolved the situation, and my testing could resume.
The foresight included with this MPR first needs to be clamped to the rails on the muzzle finisher. Interchangeable elements come with this sight, and are easily fitted in the conventional manner. With the sights all set up, the shooting routine is to view the centre roundel of the target bull within the ring of the foresight element, set within the outer circle, created by the dioptre’s aperture. Keeping everything fully centralized is the key.
Testing over the chronograph confirmed the factory claim of around 120 shots from the 200bar charge, 105 of which were within an impressive 24fps using market leading JSB pellets (in this case 4.52 head size, Air Arms Diabolo Field).
Shooting this MPR revealed a nicely balanced performer, with a snappy action, super crisp trigger, and an extremely comfortable stock. Initial zeroing of the sights was undertaken with the rifle rested on a bean bag, and once point zero was established, the true accuracy potential was recorded, with a five shot group resulting in a single tight ragged hole, capable of supporting a pellet being the result!
Sadly, my efforts from the official standing stance, were hardly Olympic fare, and the task of mastering Dioptre sights was laid bare, for the truly demanding discipline that it is. However, if I did my part, the shots fell where I was pointing, which is all one can ask.
The full power MPR is already a past winner of the World HFT Championships, and this target version just redirects that quality, towards the indoor environment; catering as stated, for the younger shot among others.
In short, this MPR 10M is a clever adaptation, and surely another winner from one of the most successful airgun companies on the planet. Oh and in case you didn’t realize, it’s made in Britain! GM