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BSA Polaris

BSA Polaris

Their seems to be much ‘twitter’ on the airgun websites surrounding the origins of this rifle so the facts as I know them (and as stated by BSA) are as follows. Though in certain areas the Polaris bears some resemblance to a Turkish made rifle currently on the market it definitely isn’t the same. It has been manufactured by Gamo (Spain) for BSA and is based on the action of their CFX Royal. Input from BSA has come by way of trigger layout and other areas particularly the chunky muzzle shroud and to some extent the stock design. So here’s what I think.

On the Beech

It seems that both companies who’ve collaborated on this rifle have decided they have enough synthetic stocked models in their rosters and have opted to fit the action into a beech stock. The sporter design has familiar Gamo features, such as the soft lines of the nicely rounded, medium height cheekpiece, the familiar seven hole, black rubber butt pad and a full and relatively lengthy, forend. Two sets of generously-sized, fine-cut, chequering panels adorn the pistol grip and forend, and are particularly well positioned for the leading hand hold.

I Beg To Differ

Confusion over this gun’s true identity has in part arisen due to both the ‘cosmetics’ at the front of the under-lever and the rotary breech loading facility looking similar to other models. However, I can attest to the fact that having used both rifles they definitely do differ.

Sliding the ribbed retaining catch back on the Polaris brings with it the under-lever locking mechanism which isn’t a spigot, but a sear-type catch that locks up under the muzzle. The lever draws smoothly down and has a lengthy cocking stroke, locking securely back in the rearward position having travelled an arc of around 140º.

As many will realise for a full power springer this means the spring isn’t short or overly strong, and as I was soon to discover this does translate into a smooth firing cycle with low recoil. Before getting to that though, we need to get lead in the tube so to speak, and in the case of the Polaris this is achieved by manually sliding over the rotary breech from the right to the left using the serrated catch, thus revealing a deep cut, loading channel. With the breech open you direct load the pellet into the 18.5” barrel and close the cover back to its original position. All’s now cocked, loaded and sealed, and you now need only deliver the payload.

For this you’ve two aiming options, either use the Tru-Glo open sights or fit an optic to the raised ‘dovetailed’ rail which is fixed to the cylinder. It can be removed but it’s been added to serve the purpose of raising the sight line, so you can mount a larger objective optic - this is because the open sights are quite high due to the muzzle configuration, but more of that later.

story continues below...

Red & Green

As you’d expect the open sights are now the familiar front red insert in the blade and the fully adjustable rear unit with green fibre optic bars flanking the U-notch. These give fast target acquisition for close to medium range hunting or plinking. However in my opinion this rifle deserves to be out in the field doing what it’s capable of.

Scoping up with a BSA 4 – 12 X 50AO Essencial in high mounts I set zero for 25-yds with the .22 calibre test rifle and began to really appreciate what it was built for. That’s knocking over legal airgun quarry at sensible distances.

Launch Time to Lunch Time…

I’d set it up on the target range and made enough sub 1-inch groups out to 30-yds using quality ammo to be sure one shot was all I’d need once I’d spotted a coney within range.

Accuracy is certainly helped by the 2-stage adjustable trigger unit which has the familiar BSA layout of a manual safety lever positioned on the right of the action above the metal trigger blade. Unlike other BSA rifle’s that use this layout, there are no F&S (fire & safe) markings to indicate the status of the safety. But like others of its type in the rearward position the Polaris is set to SAFE while pushing the lever forwards puts it in FIRE mode.

The Polaris balances well and feels solid in the hold thanks to the stock material and design even though specified at 6.6lbs un-scoped it feels rather heavier than expected. It isn’t in the slightest cumbersome even though this full length sporter measures 44.25” from butt to muzzle.

That nicely brings me around to the next bonus; as the muzzle is very reminiscent of the discontinued BSA Goldstar in the fact that it has an outer sleeve that’s internally threaded to accept a silencer adaptor. Though it comes with a thread protector cap ready screwed into it, BSA have thought of the fact that potential punters will want to make use of the facility and supply an adaptor that screws in and then gives a male ½” UNF thread for fitting a silencer of choice. I used the rifle both with and without silencers fitted and quite frankly didn’t feel the need to use a can, due to the low report and recoil - the added weight isn’t even needed to combat muzzle flip. So in my opinion why add extra length?

Personally I’m glad I got the chance to test and hunt with the BSA Polaris because it has allowed me to clear up the confusion and misconceptions surrounding it. It’s also made me realise that it’s a sporter worth serious consideration if this type of air rifle appeals to you. Due to the balance, accuracy and overall performance I for one hope that this isn’t a model that gets overlooked – it’s certainly capable of putting a few bunnies in the pot.

We Reckon:
Good working under-lever
Simple and efficient
Not unlike others of its style

£272 including silencer adaptor

  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • BSA Polaris - image {image:count}

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  • Make: BSA Polaris
  • Type: Under-lever, Spring & Piston
  • Shot: Single-Shot
  • Stock: Beech wood sporter
  • Sights: Y
  • Grooved for scope mounting: Y - plus a removable mount raiser rail
  • Length: 44.25”
  • Barrel: 18.5”


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    Default profile image
    27 Jun 2020 at 10:08 PM
  • Can you cast any light on why under-lever models are more highly priced than break-barrel models? Take the BSA Polaris reviewed above as an example. Why is it more expensive than the similarly powered Supersport?

    1. One would like to think that the barrel, at least, is made at Birmingham. If so, why should it contribute any more to the cost than if the gun were assembled in Birmingham? I f not, having it made in Spain makes sense only as an economy measure. BSA are supposedly PROUD of their barrels (if of nothing else) and would not have them made in Spain simply because they cannot make them well enough themselves.

    2. The provision of a separate lever for compressing the spring is an example par excellence of an economy measure - or should be! Making the barrel serve a dual purpose means making the lever mechanism with extreme precision so that when the barrel is returned to shooting position a perfect seal is obtained between breech and compression chamber. Moreover, this mechanism must be made so rigid and robust that not the slightest wear or deformation eventuates even after thousands of uses. Any wear or deformation would be evidenced in a less than satisfactory seal at the breech long before it can be detected visually or felt by the hand.

    A separate lever should be cheap. It fills no other function than to compress the spring and need meet no such stringent requirements. Materials can be cheaper and workmanship relatively rough and ready. There could be palpable play in the action and parts could even be visibly bent and the lever still continue to serve its function perfectly well. It only has to compress a spring until a latch engages.

    Lining the barrel up with the compression chamber and fixing it in place should not cost as much as a mechanism with moving parts that functions with equal precision.

    So why GBP272 against GBP234 (figures from your reviews)?

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    Kendrick Pereira
    28 Jan 2013 at 04:42 AM
  • Gee! Jon Pilling!
    Why "rich" from a Welshman if he himself has made a literate posting - in sharp contrast to the great majority of comments posted in response to this review?

    Salient among the literate minority is a post by an American.

    It seems that the manufacture of good air-rifles is not the only thing that is going offshore!

    Of course, I'm assuming that the majority of posts are by Englishmen which is reasonable considering that they whinge about things going off-shore from England. But I may be wrong.

    Default profile image
    Kendrick Pereira
    10 Jan 2013 at 06:20 AM
  • This comment has been removed due to inflammatory language. Please keep it clean.

    Default profile image
    fat dad
    05 Oct 2012 at 09:33 AM
  • Its no good moaning about BSA now, About " how they have gone down hill " and " quallity is not the same " Its about supply and demand. BSA would still be as they were before GAMMO, If more people had spent at BSA instead of going abroad for ther rifles. Its that simple,It was just the same at webley, the list goes on and on...rover...etc, etc

    Default profile image
    20 Jul 2012 at 10:03 AM
  • That's rich coming from a Welshman !

    (And if you are not, then you really ought to be with a name like that 😉

    Dydd Da

    Default profile image
    Jon Pilling
    17 Jan 2012 at 05:43 PM
  • I like reading the comments, but I wish that people would at least spell and grammar check their contribution first.
    Most annoying is the use of "There" and "Their", their meanings are different and make no sense in some of the comments, especially rixta.
    Ignorance of the English language is no excuse when you have a spell checker.

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    llewellyn roberts
    13 Jul 2011 at 01:25 PM
  • I bought a BSA Lonestar .25 cal in December, 2009. I have shoved a few thousand pellets through it by now, and so far it's doing good with no breakdowns. I live in windy Montana, USA, and hunt prairie dogs out to 100 yards with this rifle. As far as blacking goes, on my rifle it is a rich black with fairly good polish. I can leave the rifle charged all winter, and come spring the rifle is still fully charged. People comment on the nice looks, but Yanks are used to cheap crappy Gamo or Crosman, or an RWS springer if they are quality conscious. I have a Sheridan .20 cal made by Benjamin before Crosman bought them out and cheapened the rifle, but this Lonestar is an upgrade over the Sheridan in fit and finish. I put a bigger rubber pad over the little plastic bolt thumbpad. 5-shot groups of 1/2" at 50 yards are the norm, and on a calm day I can get 1" groups at 100 yards. Mine is an export rifle, with the long 24" barrel, and 45+ fpe at the muzzle. Blows through the midsection of a prairie dog at 100 yards like a hot knofe through butter. Tends to put down varmints better than a .22LR rimfire shooting subsonic match ammo. These can be had for $595 + tax and/or shipping stateside, so compare that to what you are paying. Benjamin Marauder .25, which is an 8-shot repeater with full shroud suppressor and air gauge, is around $495, so most Yanks are buying it overwhelmingly over the Lonestar. Since I change pellets when hunting, the single shot feature is often more useful to me. I think the quality is adequate for a $595 air rifle, but not if it was a $1500 FX repeater.

    Default profile image
    Phil Canard
    20 Mar 2011 at 06:24 PM
  • i bought a polaris whch was a total disappointment i had bad days at huntng rabbits i took it back 2 the shop n changed it 4 a weihrauch hw97k its been 1 year since i got my weihrauch nevr came back empty handed from hunting with it im totaly satisfied with it...its accuracy is amazing and the quality as well

    Default profile image
    26 Nov 2010 at 11:04 PM
  • bsa. are still inventive and masters of there proven craft reasonable prices and if you want qaulity expensive substitutes. go ahead. by all means but don t be moaning .rember a rolls royce and reliant robin both run on petrol not on moon dust

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    john harwood
    11 Oct 2010 at 07:30 PM
  • It is a crying shame BSA have gone down hill big time. I have owned various BSA springers from the first one which was a beaten up Mercury to my last a Goldstar in .22, one of the last ones made and all were great plus i held respect for them. But now i can honestly say i will never ever buy a new BSA Springer or recommend one. I have moved over to Air Arms as they are still British and my TX200HC MkII is far superior in everyway to the Goldstar of mine. Had it now for a year or so and have recommended the TX to various happy owners.

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    Joe Bloggs
    10 Oct 2010 at 07:15 PM
  • Does anyone know how to decrypt BSA serial numbers? My Lightning XL is :-
    S48357 I would interested to know when and where it was made. It says BSA ENGLAND on the barrel but I doubt it was made here.

    Default profile image
    12 Jun 2010 at 05:57 PM
  • I worked for Bsa Guns in the early 1990's where the quality was very high and many awards were won.I worked there when Gamo brought them out ,times changed.
    This rifle has amarked resemblence to a very good gun of the time the BSA Superstar which I have owned and loved with the best black finish still to this day.
    I purchased a very rare in the UK BSA Lonestar FAC recently and found the standards had gone south ,with poor blacking and parts of a less perfect standard .Exceptable yes but not as high as was once the standard.Such a shame as was once the best of the best but has lost its way.

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    Jason Marshall
    16 Apr 2010 at 01:52 PM
  • Why not try a modern Gamo at your local club or shop - the modern ones have come a long way. As for the Polaris, it's certainly not the same spec as the old BSA Goldstar, but then it's nothing like the price in real terms.

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    Pat Farey
    11 Mar 2010 at 02:34 AM
  • When i first saw the Polaris i thought it was the BSA Superstar making a come back and had my wadge of note at the ready. I have owned and stupidly sold my BSA Goldstar some years back so the Polaris was going to be for keeps.
    That was until i found out it was a Gamo made in Spain with a BSA title. Lets face it Gamo have never produced a quality airgun.I was unfortunate to own a Gamo for a while.
    The money went back in the bank and i am so dissappointed it wasn't a Proper BSA. But glad i found out before parting with my money.

    Default profile image
    Kevin Baker
    10 Mar 2010 at 01:08 PM
  • Velocity figures from BSA suggest that the Polaris is getting up towards the legal limit.

    Have your rifle checked over a chrono at your local gunshop or airgun club, and you will know exactly what the power output is. Anything between 10.75 and 11.5ft/lbs is plenty for hunting. Only consider changing the spring if it is under 10ft/lbs.

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    Pat Farey
    05 Mar 2010 at 01:31 AM
  • hi could you tell me the power of my bsa polaris and can the spring be chang to the legal requirement of 12ftp

    Default profile image
    28 Feb 2010 at 06:18 PM
  • worrying stuff for a bloke who has been out of the airgunning seen for 5 years. I want to get back into HFT but short on cash so was thinking bsa or gamo as I had a CF30 that would hit a 40mm spinner at 30yrds all day. Any advice not really after second hand as the market has been killed by gov. unless anyones got a tx200 or hw97 near stoke/leek

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    bisley bootle
    04 Feb 2010 at 06:40 PM
  • BSA have let us down of late,all springers being made in spain and the prices increasing?Quality has seriously gone down to where the blue looks like ink.
    I thought the idea of going abroad was to make them cheaper and who in the right mind would pick this over the lightning/a HW or a AA?
    If it was sub £150 they would be on to a winner and it looks like a sub £150 Rifle.
    They could of made this better,Im a brummy,own many BSA's (I wont be buying another for a while) but BSA simply don't listen to us no more which is sad as there more interested in offering the best to the foreigners then there own,just look at there export guns compared to ours.
    They use to reply to emails,send brochures out and every thing but now they can't even give you a price on a part,poor John must have his work cut out and god knows what they would do with out that man.

    oh and I'm sick of seeing the Hornet Action,guys need to learn when its time to move on and they could of done alot more with the s10,even John dislikes the designs,theres a few Johns and I aint going to point out which one but I think you know which one I'm talking about,well if you have ever bought a part off BSA.

    Have you noticed,all the best BSA's get dis continued?always seem to be the best for the money options too,like the Hornet and the s10?

    For any one who did not know,did you know BSA is owned by Gamo?and yes most Gamos are based on the Lightning and thats where this polaris has come from?and how much are Gamos?

    Take a trip to BSA and see there work shop,multi million pound business on a rd with every building falling apart and a tiny factory,I recon they build 20 Rifles max a day there and most there parts are made by other companies for sure.

    I feel bad saying it but there heading the way webley did,in fact they already have and lucky Gamo was there to support them.

    Gread is the problem with these manufacturers,if the ultra was still £200 quid,they would be making millions,saying that what they do with all the money they make?dont exactly go in to the Factory or the Designs?co owners pockets?
    Its a crying shame that UKt Airgun manufacturers are going like this and hardly any are actually made in the uk and if they are,there probably just put together here.

    Default profile image
    27 Jan 2010 at 02:35 AM