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Air Arms S510-SL Carbine

Air Arms S510-SL Carbine

They say if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it, but that’s what Air Arms has done with their popular and successful S400/410 series of rifles. It must have been a difficult decision to make, but technology doesn’t stand still. With that in mind let’s take the tour around the latest and possibly greatest PCP hunter Air Arms has ever produced.

Stock Shock

Strong words from the very beginning, but then again this rifle has that effect on you. From the very first moment I saw it emerge from the box I was impressed by every detail that caught my eye, and none more obvious than the new look walnut stock. This newly designed furniture has the familiar high right hand roll over cheekpiece with a thick ventilated rubber butt pad. The neck is slim and nicely contoured as it passes over from the left and coupled with the relatively chunky pistol grip offers a very comfortable hold. The grip has a rosewood end cap with slim maple spacer, this is also repeated in the semi Schnable forend.

Talking of which, the forend of the S510-SL is much slimmer than its predecessor but it’s been trimmed in a sensible manner. It curves and tapers inwards from where the attractive and functional, laser-cut, skip-line chequering begins. Finished off with fleur-de-lys decoration, this precision cut and generous chequering is as stylish as it is practical, and is not only applied either side of the forend but also underneath, and of course at the pistol grip.

The handling of the rifle is exceptional but I for one was expecting nothing less. The rifle’s cosmetics even translate over to the action; particularly the curved scalloped ridges that adorn the fill point cover cap and even the thread protection cap at the muzzle. Though they in themselves undoubtedly add that tad extra in terms of looks they are practical as well, as they also aid grip. Once the dust cover cap is unscrewed it reveals the very safe fill point with ‘T’ bar securing point for the brass push over fill adaptor that is supplied with the rifle. This most safe and practical of charging arrangements is just one example of the attention to detail that has made Air Arms PCP air rifles so popular.

The S510-SL requires a 190-bar fill and in .22 calibre the company quote an approximate shot count of 70, while you can expect 60 shots from the .177 calibre version (as on test). I had the test rifle for a couple of months and quite frankly found it definitely gave more than 60, but good on Air Arms for not making over-inflated claims. A nice touch is the air gauge set into the underside of the stock, so you can keep check of the status of air in the cylinder.

The lever-age

Air Arms first used a side lever cocking mechanism on the Xtra Hi-power S400/410 models and of course the EV-2 FT rifle. The reason the side-lever was employed for the FAC rated rifles was to ease the cocking effort needed for a rifle developing over 30ft/lbs of muzzle energy. However, tales of the company being inundated with requests for this system to be fitted to the 12ft/lb models may or may not be true. What I do know is Air Arms don’t ignore feedback from the consumer and you could say they’re giving the public what they wanted. You could also argue they waited until the public had accepted this type of mechanism before incorporating it into the build of their latest PCP, but in my opinion that’s irrelevant as the side-lever is as efficient as it is now widely accepted.

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The 3 ½” long side-lever of the S510-SL is very stylish, and sits very neatly alongside the right hand side of the action at the very rear of the breechblock assembly. To release the 10-shot magazine, or to cock the rifle, you just hook your forefinger under the very front of the side-lever which curves outward for ease of access and simply draw it back to lock fully rearward. To remove the magazine you have to pull back a tad further so the probe fully exits a chamber in the magazine, then the removable 10-shot rotary magazine can be manually slipped out from the left of the action. Loading the 10-shot Perspex fronted magazine is a simple affair - you just rotate the inner alloy drum dropping a pellet into each empty chamber as it lines up with access hole in the Perspex cover plate.

When filled, replace the magazine back into the action until it fully abuts up to the slanted side plate at the breech and then return the side-lever to its original closed position. This operation has now cocked the rifle and probed a pellet directly into the free-floating Lothar Walther barrel. For the next shot you just operate the side-lever and the magazine auto-indexes around, while the probe seats the next pellet into the breech ready for firing.

The 2-stage adjustable trigger is the same unit as seen on the S400/410 series, that being a black alloy blade with a manual safety ‘button’ positioned through the trigger blade itself. Push over from the right to put on safe, in from the left to put into live fire mode. The trigger is a precise unit and one with plenty of adjustment, and as the many S400/410 owners will attest to – it works a treat.

The chunky looking bull barrel shroud isn’t just cosmetic, as it also acts as a primary silencer. Air that would follow the pellet on firing is also ‘directed’ down back inside the barrel shroud to exit out through 3 vent holes found just forward of the front end of the breechblock. It does an admirable job of taming muzzle report from the expected loud crack to a sort of hammer hitting wood sound. Many hunters will find this acceptable, especially shooting in the open. In the woods or confines of a hide I’d advise you make use of the option to fit a secondary silencer. This can be done by unscrewing the stylish end cap that reveals a standard ½” UNF female thread. Yes, female. Very unusual, as most silencers use female threads themselves so you’ll need a silencer adaptor (from someone like Best Fittings – see the News section) but word has it Air Arms will have released a dedicated silencer for the rifle by the time you read this review.

Those Are The Features – But How Does It Perform?

I could say incredible, but I think most airgunners will require more information. Using the grooves cut into the top of the action block I scoped up with a Hawke Airmax AX 3 – 9 X 50 with MAP 6 Ballistic Reticle in high mounts - an ideal pairing. I set a 30-yd zero using Air Arms Field and tight clover leaf holes where boringly easy to achieve from a rested position. On my enclosed range I found the primary silencer did a fair enough job for taming report but for most hunting trips I fitted an old Venom Arms ‘special’ I had in my gun room and then the rifle really did turn into a silent and deadly vermin termination tool. Even with my dusty steel can up-front the carbine size rifle didn’t feel in the bit unbalanced and even scoped just tipped the scales at 7.5lbs.

It has great handling as well, and accuracy is something that starts to become more noticeable the more trips out you have with the S510-SL. Any shooting position you can think of bar something out of the Karma Sutra is easily achieved, and operating the side-lever soon becomes second nature - and as a long time S410K user myself, I didn’t miss the bolt action in the slightest. In fact at a push, I’d have to admit I prefer this mechanism.

Conclusions

I never thought I’d say this but though the S410K will I’m sure carry on selling well with hunters and the S400 series with HFT competitors, I can’t help thinking on looking at the rifles side by side just how much the S510-SL makes the S410K look dated. That’s not entirely cosmetic or due to the side-lever cocking facility either, as there’s just something about the Air Arms S510-SL that stops you in your tracks to take a closer look at every detail. Be that the finish of the metalwork which is stunning or the luxurious looking stock, the neatness of the cocking system, bull barrel shroud and integral silencer – the whole package. On reflection, the decision to take another step up the ladder I feel was a wise move by Air Arms. Only one minor niggle is that this is classed as the carbine, being 37.5” in overall length minus a secondary silencer. I mention this because it makes it approximately 2” shorter than a silenced S410K. However, depending on what you fit up-front means the rifle will be longer than the S410K. I know, considering the other features, that this is a minor point as I’m sure the S510-SL will soon become as popular as its predecessor.

PRICES:
£657 in walnut stock as shown. Beech version £592. Left hand stock available for £669 (walnut only)

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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  • Air Arms S510-SL Carbine - image {image:count}

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gun
features

  • Model: Air Arms S510-SL Carbine
  • Type: Side-lever, PCP, Multi-Shot
  • Capacity: 10 shot magazine
  • Calibre: .177 on test, .22 Available
  • Stock: Walnut sporter with rosewood end caps and rubber butt pad
  • Sights: No open sights, but grooved for scope mounting
  • Barrel : 15.5”

24 Comments

  • As Longshanks says, it sounds like something is broken. The magazine and indexing system on Air Arms pre charged rifles are usually very reliable, so the shop you bought the rifle from should be able to help.

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    Troll Hunter
    26 Mar 2015 at 07:34 AM
  • Doesn't sound good. When the pellet probe is withdrawn by the side lever for replacing the magazine, the magazine should be held in position by a sort of leaf spring which is fixed to the top of the receiver by two small Allen screws, the spring should bear on a a small spud on the side of the magazine which is part of the moulding. The spring may be bent or the end broken off, or perhaps the spud has been broken off the side of the mag..
    With the magazine removed, check that the indexer hasn't been bent and that it moves up and down when you cycle the indexing lever.
    In any event, if you have only recently acquired the gun, take it back for repair.
    Hope this is of some help.
    Longshanks.

    Default profile image
    Longshanks
    26 Mar 2015 at 07:24 AM
  • Problem with my S510, the magazine will not index and it tends to fall out when you reload, or try to reload, help needed

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    PAUL LASCELLES
    25 Mar 2015 at 06:17 PM
  • This is a really nice gun, a delight to shoot and admired by other shooters, push the boat out and go for the walnut stock, a left hand stock is available from Air Arms.
    Good luck.
    Longshanks.

    Default profile image
    Longshanks
    13 Feb 2015 at 04:28 PM
  • Hi, great gun, where can I get a left handed stock from.

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    PAUL LASCELLES
    13 Feb 2015 at 12:01 PM
  • Comprehensive review, Pete. Glad I found it . See you when I "return".

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    Jim Jervis
    28 Jun 2014 at 05:05 PM
  • I'd give Air Arms' own pellets a try first, as they were designed for the barrels the company use. Alternatively try H&N Field Target Trophies, Crosman Accupells or Premiers.

    Let us know how you get on with your new eifle.

    Default profile image
    Troll Hunter
    07 Feb 2014 at 09:08 AM
  • I have jst purchased the s510. And was curious off what pellets to buy for when it arrives.

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    jordanduff12
    27 Jan 2014 at 10:06 PM
  • Accupel by Webly are generally considered to be a good pellet at 14.3 grains, but some people prefer something a little heavier, 17 or 18 grains,but I tend to stick with the accupels.
    Have had the 510 for a few days now and have put about 300 pellets through it, and as suspected it does not group just as well as the Superten did but is beautifully balanced. There is no doubt you also get marked bell curve effect on velocity after each fill, so I am currently researching regulators. Don't anyone be put off by my remarks above, the lighter weight and better balance coupled with a great trigger will probably mean I will shoot better from a standing position than I did with the BSA.
    Longshanks.

    Default profile image
    Longshanks
    27 Jan 2014 at 09:52 PM
  • What's the best pellet to use with the air arms s510 superlite carbine???

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    jordanduff12
    27 Jan 2014 at 09:28 PM
  • Nice rifle, let us know how you get on with it.

    Default profile image
    Troll Hunter
    22 Jan 2014 at 07:31 PM
  • Have just ordered a carbine with walnut stock, this is to replace my BSA Superten, a great gun, very accurate, but too heavy and has no power adjuster, I am prepared to sacrifice a little accuracy for better balance and two pounds less weight. If needs be an after market regulator can be fitted later. Delivery in two days, can't wait!.

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    Longshanks
    22 Jan 2014 at 03:49 PM
  • Hi Akhilesh,

    Why do you think your barrel is damaged? Has the accuracy suddenly got very bad?

    Your local gunshop will be able to order a barrel from the Air Arms factory if it is damaged.

    Default profile image
    Troll Hunter
    21 Nov 2013 at 07:20 AM
  • seems my air arms s510 barrel is damaged. from where can I get the new one?

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    akhilesh
    17 Nov 2013 at 09:42 PM
  • Hi Stephen,
    Thanks for the review. I bought my AA s510 last month. I have been studying what type of scope best fit for me. I think like you mentioned the hawke airmax 3 9 50 is a good fit. How far can i shoot with it? and What type of mounts should i get? I dont want my scope to high from the rifle.
    Thank you.

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    yuset
    20 Dec 2012 at 05:24 PM
  • I think Air Arms used to refer to their barrels as being 'match grade' but I'm not sure at present, all I know is is that they are usually very accurate air rifles.

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    Troll Hunter
    25 Apr 2012 at 01:00 AM
  • Thanks, Troll Hunter!

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    Stephen Swinney
    24 Apr 2012 at 06:10 PM
  • is the s510 FAC barrel a match grade or premium grade?

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    john locsin
    22 Apr 2012 at 08:26 PM
  • A ten round magazine comes with the rifle, spares are available fro gunshops.

    Default profile image
    Troll Hunter
    09 Apr 2012 at 07:23 PM
  • Does this come with the 10 round magazine?

    Default profile image
    Stephen Swinney
    09 Apr 2012 at 03:43 PM
  • i think the more options the air rifle manufacterers are giving us we can only be askijng for more iam ordering one soon let us see whether it leaves with me for more options or not the only options now we can ask for is the heavier air pellets in the .177 section highlander bhupinder sandhu i would request for more friends in my category with whom i can share my expiences often pl have them my email id thanks

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    bhupinder singh sandhu
    21 Jan 2011 at 02:03 AM
  • It depends what you want the adjustable pad for, as there are several diferent kinds, from a simple sliding shoulder pad to a fully adjustable 'hook' (for match target work) that has calibrated adjusters for precision repeatable settings.

    The best bet is to go to your local gunsmith and tell him what the problem is. He can then recommend a suitable pad, and may also be able to fit it for you if required.

    Butt pads can cost between £25 and £150 depending on what you want - the price tends to reflex the quality of the butt pad and the degree of adjustability that it offers.

    It's usually best to keep it as simple as possible, not just because complexity costs more - but it can also be more difficult to set up.

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    Pat Farey
    21 Mar 2010 at 05:02 PM
  • The Air Arms .22 is a very good air rifle, could not ask for anything better
    but what I would like is an adjustable butt to be fitted.could someone
    recommend one for this rifle.

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    Rayondo
    21 Mar 2010 at 01:47 PM
  • Very good rifles for hunting...

    Default profile image
    wegig maryanto
    17 Feb 2010 at 08:56 AM


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