Mark Camoccio rounds up some of the notable shooting hardware from last year
It really is an exciting time to be an airgun shooter right now, with innovations and improvements finding their way onto the market on a regular basis. A host of new models and revamps were on offer in 2019, and whilst they are a mixture of brand new products, and variations on a theme, they all serve to illustrate the sheer diversity of what’s currently available to today’s enthusiast. Here’s my pick of the litter.
WEIHRAUCH HW100 BP
Weihrauch’s long awaited Bullpup version of their HW100 series is a radical move for the company, and given the configurational requirements of the format, the BP spec is to all intents and purposes, a brand new model in its own right. With the action set almost to the rear of the stock, the scope needs to be mounted on the high rise ‘intermount’ rail, machined and positioned above the barrel. The trigger is classic Weihrauch, as in a subtle 2-stage unit, despite the necessary remote linkages. Move to the stock, and the design is cleverly
Contact: Hull Cartridge Company: www.hullcartridge.co.uk
RAPID AIR WEAPONS HM1000
Rapid Air Weapons, or RAW as they are known, are very solidly built, with trademark over-engineered, chunky components all part of the appeal. Their HM1000 model is dedicated towards the hunting fraternity, and a big part of the appeal of the brand comes from the relative simplicity of the layout, with a robust action design and floating barrel. The delightfully slick side lever instils confidence, and the trigger unit is precise and light, with a nicely broad blade. This model is available with a superbly detailed laminate stock, but a walnut version will significantly trim the asking price; currently around £1725 for walnut, and £1873 for a laminate stock with accessory rail. Unusually, all the woodwork is manufactured in-house at the Rapid factory in the USA. There’ve been recent upgrades across the range and the HM1000 hunter, shown here, now gets a carbon fibre shroud and silencer as standard. Note: As an import from the States, final retail prices are dependent upon the exchange rates and duties applicable at the time.
Contact: Michael Tawn Airguns; www.tawnadoairguns.com
KRAL PUNCHER NP02
First impressions are of a radical design, similar, at a quick glance, to the much respected Air Arms S510TDR; due in no small part to the central scaled down walnut stock with drop-down pistol grip. In truth, they are chalk and cheese, but where the NP02 really scores, is in its air storage. Take a closer look, and you’ll notice there’s a front cylinder, and also a rear-mounted buddy bottle. Overall capacity is a whopping 530cc, (charged from the same front inlet vale) and that’s always going to equate to a sizeable shot count. Our test sample was fitted with an optional Swift Stumpy modular silencer, in place of the threaded muzzle cap normally included as standard. And whilst this is an optional extra, at £49, it’s a nice add-on that really kills the muzzle report, transforming handling for a reasonable outlay. Two magazines are supplied with this Kral, along with a single shot tray, probe-style charging adaptor, 2-stage trigger, side-lever cocking, Picatinny-style rails, manometer, laser chequered Turkish walnut stock, synthetic rear assembly including adjustable butt pad, and finally a power adjuster. In addition, everything comes in a dedicated hard case; so, a comprehensive deal for sure and all at good money too.
Contact: Rangeright www.range-right.co.uk
STOEGER RX20 S3 SUPPRESSOR
Stoeger Airguns are designed in Italy, and as part of the worldfamous Beretta group, it’s fair to say that they have a certain style and flair, as one would expect. It’s also fair to say that at present, the company operates at the cheaper end of the market, and in this somewhat overcrowded sector, brand differentiation is the key. What we have here is a full power, spring-piston driven, sporting rifle, with the latest full-length shroud S3 Suppressor system, fibre optics with interchangeable foresight and adjustable rear sight, contoured synthetic stock, featuring interchangeable grip and forend sections, 2-stage trigger, with a Stoeger 4x32 scope and mounts included. First impressions are of a modern sporter courtesy of the stylish synthetics on show, but obviously it’s that rather dramatic wedgeshaped S3 Suppressor that grabs the eye, giving this model a bull nose, and a less than traditional profile; perhaps more akin to a shotgun. Pick up the RX20 and at 6.6 lbs un-scoped, it’s a gun you can handle all day, without batting an eyelid. Everything feels solid, surprisingly refined, and well put together too, so a great starter pack option.
Contact: GMK; www.gmk.co.uk www.stoegerairguns.com
BSA SILVER STAR
BSA’s initial marketing seemed to suggest that this brand new rifle was to be solely a low powered, indoor target model, and whether they had a change of heart, and switched emphasis, mid-project, is unclear. But what we now have, is a compact PCP air rifle, with built in versatility, and a host of features, aimed at both, the indoor target shooter, and the HFT market. OK; all things to all people, normally means the dreaded word, ‘compromise’, but the clever part of the burgeoning spec sheet, comes with the way the Silver Star can be ordered, with either a 12 ft/lbs main cylinder, or one set to around 6 ft/lbs. The former for HFT/FT work, and latter for indoor 10m target shooting. Choose to invest, and you’ll be assured a 2-stage, adjustable, semi-match trigger, semitarget stock with adjustable cheek piece and adjustable butt section, a new design ambidextrous T-bar cocking bolt, single tray loading, integral accessory rail, front-mounted manometer, manual safety catch, BSA barrel, and quick fill charging system. An extensive list of features, and an interesting option for competition minded shooters.
Price: £ 699
Contact: BSA Guns; www.bsaguns.co.uk
COMETA ORION BP
Cometa’s answer to the Bullpup market, this model sees their Orion PCP action set way back within the stock. Balance and handling are therefore transformed and, whilst the bolt is still in an awkward position, this radical looking airgun does come well very well appointed. The stock is quite militaristic in styling, with a drop down pistol grip, and front grip, and there’s also a variety of finishes on offer, with the furniture being available in either black-coated beech, or natural looking woodwork. Either option now gets a cheek piece panel to support the face around the breech and, with a multi-shot design and bolt action, shrouded barrel, 2-stage trigger, drop-down front grip as mentioned, accessory rail, Picatinny scope rail, and pressure gauge, the Orion BP has plenty of features. Finish wise, the main compression cylinder is treated to chemical bluing, which is done to a fair standard, whilst the barrel shroud, receiver and scope rail assembly are all given a matt black Parkerised surface, that contrasts well with the woodwork on an aesthetic level. Note, with this model, the asking price also includes a magazine, charging adaptor and hard case.
Contact: Anglo Spanish Imports; www.a-s-i.co.uk
HATSAN NOVA STAR
Arguably the best looking Hatsan PCP to date, this boldly styled rifle has turned quite a few heads since its introduction. Buddy bottle configuration dominates the visuals, and here we see a state of the art carbon fibre 480cc bottle all part of the deal. Hatsan cram a lot of features in as standard with this model too, including that stylish, fully adjustable Turkish walnut stock, complete with thumb-hole configuration, and magazine storage in the butt. However, it’s perhaps the drop-down grip that really steals the show. Other features to drool over include side-lever cocking, an adjustable 2-stage trigger, Picatinny-style accessory rail, manual safety catch, fully shrouded barrel, threaded muzzle for a silencer, probe-style air filling, and the option of single shot or multi-shot, via the two magazines supplied. Machine work on our test sample was all pretty tight, and finish too, is up to scratch, with the matt black of the action, combining well with the blued finish applied to the full-length shroud. OK, we’re not talking super deep bluing here, yet overall, bold styling and competent execution, gives this Nova Star great appeal.
Contact: Edgar Brothers; www.edgarbrothers.com
WEBLEY VMX CLASSIC
The VMX Classic feels every inch a Webley, with traditional styling, yet with a modern twist. There’s plenty of features for the money too with this spring piston, break barrel, and with a very competitive price tag, it’s hard to beat in terms of performance v RRP. On-board specification includes the Venom-inspired, Powr-Lok mainspring, 2-stage adjustable trigger, automatic safety catch, scope arrestor block, chequered ambidextrous hardwood stock, stylish muzzle grip and fibre optic adjustable open sights. Best described as a super compact, solid little sporter, the VMX Classic really looks the part, with a smart, purposeful profile. Pick up the Classic, and it just feels well put together and finished. Attention to detail means that there’s even a tension bolt at the breech, designed to take up any play and allow for wear, further down the line- along with a keeper screw to ensure full lock up. All reassuring, and a measure of the thought that’s gone into the design.
Contact: Highland Outdoors; www.highlandoutdoors.co.uk
An exciting addition to the German made Umarex range, the RP5 is a CO2-powered pistol that takes two 12 gram capsules at a time. The specification sees a pump action, cycle a 5-shot magazine, but this model has been designed to be single loaded too, with the magazine removed, so it’s flexible for sure. There’s a choked and shrouded barrel, a unique CO2 valve design allowing for higher power, and a modular system which can accept accessories further down the line. Open sights and a 2-stage trigger also come as standard, and with a slick profile, this model is an exciting prospect, offering as it does, something a little different. Umarex are all about quality of manufacture, and the RP5 is a perfect example of what the brand is all about. Two part polymer grips are ambidextrous, and it’s the extended forend that acts as the pump slide to cycle the action. In short, the RP5 really is great fun to shoot, and with the magazine clip onboard, shots can be released just as fast as that pump action can be completed. A shoulder stock and silencer are available as extras, and there’s even a fixed stock carbine version that produces around 8 ft/lbs listed, so plenty of options.
Price: £260 pistol, £329 carbine
Contact: John Rothery (Wholesale); www.bisley-uk.com
AIR ARMS S510 ULTIMATE SPORTER R
Fit a regulator to a PCP and it will carefully meter the output for each shot, separately from the main cylinder, and the level of consistency should be improved over the charge. But a welcome bi-product is usually an increased usable shot count. That’s exactly what we get with the latest regulated ‘R’ (regulated) version of the S510 Ultimate Sporter from Air Arms, and it’s made a top class model even better. Well received from the outset, the Ultimate Sporter has been an extremely popular model for this top British brand and, as the name suggests, this is a hunting rifle bursting with features, that elevate its performance and desirability way past most of its rivals. There’s a fully adjustable walnut stock, Q-Tec silencer fitted as standard, fully shrouded, Lothar Walther barrel, renowned 2-stage trigger, sling swivel studs, accessory rail, T-bar charging valve, side-lever, and of course Air Arms’ multi-shot magazine system. Couple that with the new regulated action, and this rifle has what it takes in spades!
Contact: Air Arms; www.air-arms.com