Air Arms S510 TDR
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- Last updated: 19/02/2019
When ‘takedown’ rifles first appeared on the airgun scene, they were initially viewed with interest, tempered with suspicion; reason being, some presumed it could be viewed that you were using it as a ‘poacher’s tool.’ The obvious reason being that they can be carried very discreetly when ‘broken down’ into their main sections. However, the latter is the reason for owning one. They can be transported very easily in a bag that doesn’t scream ‘gun’, so you cause no alarm when moving through sensitive areas. Personally, I’ve long had an Air Arms S410 TDR in my armoury and it’s served me well for many years; so, I jumped at the chance when I was given the opportunity to test the S510 version. So here goes!
As with the previous model of ‘TDR’, the S510 take-down comes in three separate sections of rear stock/butt pad, action/mainframe/forestock and silencer. Well, that’s not specifically exact, because the company’s Q-Tec silencer comes already screwed onto the muzzle. This is accommodated for in the new design case the rifle is supplied with, which are now made from high-quality ABS with thick foam lining.
Assembling the rifle is very easy to do, as the front of the detachable butt section simply pushes into the rear of the action behind the pistol grip, where three steel prongs locate into mating holes in the action. It’s then secured in place by pushing in against spring tension, while turning the large knurled edge wheel positioned just forward of the adjustable rubber butt-pad. When put together, you can clearly see the high-grade walnut used for the stock at two key areas; the forend is separate and attached to the action/ mainframe, while the cheekrest is ‘isolated’ on the rear section which, as previously mentioned, also holds the sliding, adjustable height rubber butt pad. Due to the well thought out design, it doesn’t feel alien or awkward in the hold when assembled.
The ‘tubular’ alloy butt section’s chunky cheekpiece is of a reasonable height and thickness that makes for a more than adequate headrest. What certainly helps with sighting and head alignment for the scope, is the inclusion of the adjustable buttpad. A neat feature is that under the cheekrest is a large recess with two spring clips that are designed to retain and store spare magazines; useful, even if you only use them for storing spare mags while the rifle is in the case.
The fore section of the stock has a steep, wrap around pistol grip, which is fully stippled, offering a firm and very solid hold for the shooting hand. The forend is short but deep in profile, although it quickly tapers sharply upward to run parallel with the air reservoir. The forend has an accessory rail integrated into the underside for fitting a bipod or laser.
Once the cap at the front of the air reservoir is unscrewed, it reveals the very safe and now familiar fill point that Air Arms use for all their PCPs; this being a chunky stainless-steel fill valve with a ‘T’ bar securing point for the brass fill adaptor to securely mate up with. The rifle takes a 190-bar fill and is specified as giving 40 full power shots in either calibre. However, during test, the shot count was certainly more towards 50-55 before any noticeable drop in power was noticed. However, there’s a neat air gauge deeply recessed into the underside of the stock; so, at a glance, you can check your air status.
At risk of stating the obvious, while the S400/410 series of PCPs use a rear mounted cocking bolt to run the action, the S510 TDR uses a side-lever cocking mechanism; plus, it also has a full bull-barrel shroud but more of this soon. Now, although side-lever action PCPs have now been embraced by the general airgun shooting public, I feel that the ergonomic design and ultra-smooth operation of the S510’s ‘lever’ is without a doubt one of the most efficient. When in the closed position, it sits very neatly alongside the rear, right-hand side of the action. To operate, for releasing the 10-shot ‘un-sprung’ magazine, or to cock the rifle, you hook your forefinger under the front of the side-lever, which has an inner outward curve for ease of access and, with very little effort, draw it back, whereupon it locks fully rearward. To remove the magazine, you have to pull back a tad further, so that the probe fully exits a chamber in the magazine, then the rotary magazine can be manually slid out from the left of the action. Loading the 10-shot Perspex fronted magazine is a simple affair; to recap, you just rotate the inner alloy drum, dropping a pellet into each empty chamber as it arrives, to be seen through the open access hole, positioned bottom right, in the cover plate. When all chambers are filled, replace the magazine back into its housing in the action, until it fully abuts up to the slanted angled stop block at the right of the breech. Once the magazine is back in the housing, you can now return the side-lever to its original, closed position.
This operation has now cocked the rifle and probed a pellet directly into the semifree- floating, 16-inch Lothar Walther tube. A noteworthy feature is the inner of the sidelever has a disc-shaped Delrin buffer to prevent the ‘lever’ making any noise as it relocates back alongside the action block.
The 2-stage trigger is adjustable for first stage pull weight; sear engagement and second stage pull weight. It also has the now familiar manual ‘thru-blade’ cross bolt safety button, which is the norm on any modern Air Arms PCP sporter. Push over from the right to engage safety, back in from the left to put into live fire mode. The trigger unit is a very precise one and can easily be adjusted to suit all preferences.
Now to the bull barrel shroud, as it isn’t just cosmetic but holds a primary silencer in the forward section. Air that would follow the pellet on firing is also ‘directed’ down back inside the barrel shroud, to exit through three vent holes positioned just forward of the raised action block. However, as the TDR comes with the now company’s own highly respected Q-Tec calibre specific can already spun onto the screw cut muzzle, you’d be a fool not to take advantage of the very efficient sound suppression properties, as the report on firing is reduced to a mere whisper.
I scoped up with an MTC 3-12 X 44 Mamba-Lite, which proved a very nice pairing. If you were wondering, have no fear of ‘zero’ shifting, as when broken down and put back in the case, the scope can be left on the action; so, when reassembled, you’re still on target.
As for accuracy – do you really need to ask, because feed the rifle quality ammo and, like its full-bodied close relative, it gives stunning results out to 40-yards with finger nail size groups easily achieved from a rested position. The 16-inch barrel is still a top-quality, freefloating Lothar Walther and is supported with a strengthening barrel band, which has a rubber O-ring to retain the barrel’s semi-free-floating nature.
In my opinion, the Air Arms 510 TDR is a serious hunting tool and deserves to be treated as such and certainly the top of the list if you’re on the lookout for such style of rifle. It’s light, very accurate, handles wonderfully well and comes with one of the most efficient calibrespecific silencers available.
As the S410 version is still available and up-graded to include the Q-Tec Silencer in the package, then by and large your choice of AA TDR will be if you prefer a rear bolt or side-lever action air rifle.