Air Arms S510 carbine super-lite multi shot PCP
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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
Quite some time ago I tested the Air Arms S410 Carbine Super-lite which, as the name clearly implies, is a lightweight version of their standard S410K – the company incidentally also offer their S400 single-shot PCP air rifles in these so termed ‘Super-lite’ versions. The weight loss of these rifles is due to the action sitting in a very distinctive, stylish and well-crafted slimmer and trimmer Minnelli manufactured piece of furniture than Air Arm’s standard models. Such was the success of these rifles the company soon decided to release their S500/510 series of side-lever action PCP air rifles in the very same stock design.
Having also previously tested a standard S510 Carbine I was definitely keen to see how the rifle would balance and perform in the ‘Super-lite’ stock design. And although you once again have three stock ‘finish’ options of Hunter Green, Traditional Brown and Deluxe Gloss to choose from – as a hunter, I again chose to test drive this particular rifle variant in the former livery.
The stock options, though stained to the finish required, are all manufactured from Poplar Wood which in itself is inherently lighter then beech or other similar woods. The high ambidextrous and distinctive cheekpiece stands out quite prominently from the rest of the stock due to the wood directly below and to the rear being heavily scalloped back. This ‘weight saving’ feature runs from the rear of the pistol grip to where it slightly thickens out prior to adjoining the ventilated black rubber buttpad. The slim neck features a slight thumb rest while the relatively steep drop down pistol grip has a rosewood end cap with maple spacer. The trim forend has a nicely rounded underside and from the area it leaves the metal trigger guard it slowly begins to taper upwards and then slightly outwards before ending in a stylish semi-Schnabel tip. Grip is aided by panels of laser-cut checkering – two either side of the pistol grip while three are set along both sides of the forend.
To add even more class to the stylish woodwork the AA logo can clearly be seen engraved at the bottom of both sides of the grip. On first holding the rifle any airgunner familiar with the standard S510K will realise it’s noticeably lighter as the Super-lite variant only weighs 6.4lb un-scoped.
The rifle’s cosmetic appeal is aided by the high-quality finish of the metalwork including the inward curving ridges that adorn the fill point cover cap and the removable thread protector ‘plug’ at the muzzle. Once the cover cap at the front of the air reservoir is unscrewed it reveals the safe and familiar ‘T’ bar shape fill point Air Arms use for all of their PCPs. From a recommended 190 bar fill the rifle gives approximately 70 full power shots in .177 calibre and 90 in the .22 calibre – as per rifle on test. As you’d expect, there’s a neat large button-size air gauge deeply recessed into the underside of the stock so at a glance you can check the status of air pressure in the reservoir.
While the S400/410 series of PCPs use a rear-mounted cocking bolt to run the action it was the change to a sidelever cocking mechanism that was initially the major selling point of the S500/510 series. 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 right-hand side of the action at the very rear of the breechblock assembly. 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 and with very little effort draw it back until it locks 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 rotary magazine can be slid out from the left of the action. Loading the 10-shot ‘new look’ magazine is a simple affair – 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. The slanted inner side of this raised block plays a major role in how the rifle operates because this is where the all-important ‘indexing spring’ is located. Once the magazine has been slid fully inwards into the housing you can return the side-lever to its original closed position.
This operation has now cocked the rifle and seated a pellet directly into the semi-freefloating 15.5 inch Lothar Walther tube. A noteworthy feature is the inner of the side-lever has a disc shaped Delrin buffer to prevent the ‘lever’ making any noise as it relocates back alongside the action block – a very sensible and practical attention to detail. The 2-stage adjustable trigger has a black alloy blade with a manual safety ‘button’ positioned through the trigger blade itself. The trigger is a precise unit and one with plenty of adjustment.
The bull barrel shroud 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 out through three vent holes found just forward of the raised action block. It does such an admirable job of taming muzzle report, I’m sure many hunters will find this acceptable, especially shooting in the open. In the woods or confines of a hide I’d most likely make use of the option to fit a secondary silencer. This can be done by unscrewing the stylish end plug mentioned earlier to reveal a ½ inch UNF female thread. As many will already know Air Arms has re-designed the silencers they offer for all their air rifles. Known as the ‘Q-Tec’ Silencer, the unit is calibre specific and can be purchased to suit most air rifles in their range. The S510 obviously needs the male threaded model, but as I didn’t have one available for test I used a ½ inch UNF double male ended adaptor from Best Fittings and fitted a ½ inch UNF ‘Universal Fit’ female threaded ‘Q-Tec’ I did have access to. This reduced report to a whisper but the downside being it adds at least 7 inches to the overall length of the rifle – so if keeping the ‘carbine’ size isn’t of paramount importance, scope up sensibly and you’ve still got yourself a very nice handling and lightweight multi-shot PCP.
I opted to use an MTC Optics 3-12 X 44 Mamba Lite scope for test which suited the rifle perfectly. After setting a 30 yard zero using Air Arms Field Diablo (16gr) I soon found the rifle capable of shooting one-hole groups from a rested position and even using the seated field shooting position I was able to create ragged .22 calibre size clover leaf groups right out to 40 yards.
Having tested both the Superlite variants of the S410 and S510 Carbine multi-shot PCP, I have to say that I actually preferred this model as it did seem to feel more solid on aim in a variety of shooting stances. So to sum up, the Air Arms S510 Carbine Super-lite is extremely accurate, handles and balances nigh on perfectly, is light in weight and has all the attributes required from a precision multi-shot PCP hunter. My thanks to T & J. J McAvoy Ltd (01257 426129 www.guns.gb.com) for supplying rifle on test.
CONTACT: Air Arms 01323 845 853 www.air-arms.co.uk
PRICE: SRP£729 in Hunter Green Stock or Traditional Brown. £746 Deluxe Gloss
Hunter Green option – A green tinted/ light brown stain over an ambidextrous Poplar Wood sporter stock