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Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier

Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier

Conventional break barrel air rifles still account for a sizeable section of overall sales across the airgun market. New designs come and go, but with the meteoric rise in pneumatics over the last two decades, you could be forgiven for expecting the humble ‘springer’ to be well and truly side-lined - yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Of course the recoilless pneumatics make our lives easier, by virtue of their forgiving nature, yet despite flattering an average shot with far greater returns in the accuracy stakes, something is still missing in my view. The reliance upon an external power source is at the heart of the problem, and for this reason alone, many just never take to the new technology. Hunting trips can be thwarted and spontaneity curtailed as a direct result of needing to refill a PCP. Is there or isn’t there sufficient air in the reservoir? An occasional stumbling block to just grabbing the rifle and taking to the field.

There are no such issues with the spring powered option, and the break barrel still takes some beating for pure satisfaction and simplicity in operation.

Added Class

Cometa airguns are a Spanish brand, and in my view one of the best makes of spring powered airguns on the market. I have long been a fan of their Fenix 400 model, and I have here the very latest version on test; the Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier model. This sports a brand new walnut sporter stock, which basically affords the highly successful Fenix action some added class. We’ll return to that woodwork in a moment; but first let’s see what else is on offer with this model.

The shortened action sees the barrel trimmed to 9 inches, and then balance and leverage restored by the addition of a satisfyingly chunky silencer. Around the breech, all important attention to detail is on show, with the use of a small keeper screw on the main breech jaw bolt. Wear on the breech axis point is always a consideration with the traditional break barrel configuration, but Cometa take the necessary steps to hopefully eradicate any future problems in this area.

The scope rails cut into the receiver are a little short, but by extending all the way to the rear, they accommodate most potential mounting positions. Standard of finish is good, but given a few little blemishes on the metalwork, as the rifle came supplied,  the blueing is clearly not as thick and lustrous as some.

Back to the furniture, and whilst that cheek-piece looked a little vague and low, in use, with a sizeable MTC scope onboard, sighting and mounting was absolutely fine.  The panels of laser cut chequering are deeply cut and provide an assured grip as well as contrasting beautifully with the walnut’s natural grain pattern. Whilst the stock configuration is that of a very average sporter, the pleasantly angular forend tip has the direct result of giving this rifle the feel of a Theoben - and that’s obviously praise indeed. Couple that with the aforementioned quality timber, and this Carbine Premier variant begins to look an enticing proposition. Indeed if the test model was representative, then I can certainly vouch for some very pleasant walnut figuring.

Cocking and Firing

Cock the rifle using that chunky silencer, and the comparison becomes even more interesting, since the quality lock-up of the breech is highly impressive. A fair amount of effort is required to initially open the breech, but it’s more a case of technique, and with a deliberate sharp downwards stroke, the task soon becomes easier. Compressing the mainspring nearly always produces some groans and scrapes from a new factory standard spring powered action, and this Cometa was no different. On firing the action though, the test rifle displayed a slick snap, with little in the way of detectable spring resonance - indeed the holy grail where this type of airgun is concerned. Besides, almost all spring/pistons actions get better with use as they are ‘run in’.

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The trigger utilized on these 400 models is above average, with an adjustable two stage action, which is capable of reasonably light settings. Significant creep always seems to be present, but with practise, the unit can be tripped reasonably predictably. The blade itself is rather disappointing, being a little too narrow on the facing edge. Why it can’t be moulded with a wider spade, spreading the load even more, I’m not quite sure. However, this is a niggle that is easily rectified by the addition of a broad trigger shoe.

An automatic safety catch is brought into play in between shots, which whilst a little irritating, is reminiscent of the great FWB Sport design, and as such, is at least slick in use.

Range Time

Over the chronograph, the Cometa’s power plant was clearly consistent, with Falcon Accuracy Plus pellets returning an excellent 8fps variation over 10 shots. Energy levels were however a tad low, at around 10.4 ft/lbs with a variety of pellets; JSB and Logun Penetrators among them. Give the action time to bed in and I would expect these figures to improve. Pick up another example of the same model for that matter, and the results could well be different in any case.

Over 30yds the .22 JSB’s were reasonable, returning 3/4inch groups, yet Falcon Accuracy Plus pellets were clear favourites throughout the sessions, with 1/2inch clusters the norm.

Balance is an issue with any rifle, yet from the kneeling and standing positions, I found this Carbine Premier to be a fast-handling operator that could hold the target.  I had the full weight MTC Mamba optics onboard, so a lighter scope could well make a difference here; but I was suitably impressed nonetheless.

Conclusions

What we have here then is a high quality adult sporting rifle, ideally suited to hunting and maybe specific class Hunter Field Target shooting. Consider that asking price, and I reckon it represents outstanding value for money, especially when pitched against many far-eastern offerings, which may be similarly priced, yet can’t come close for sheer performance.

Any shortlist of quality adult break-barrel rifles would always include the Cometa Fenix 400 if I had anything to do with it. This new version just serves to confirm exactly why!

VELOCITY:
Using Falcon Accuracy Plus pellets:
Highest 593fps
Lowest 585fps
Average 590fps
Spread 8fps

PRICE: £250 approx

  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

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  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

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  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Model: Cometa Fenix 400S Carbine Premier
  • Type: Break barrel adult sporter
  • Calibre: .22 on test / .177 available
  • Weight: 6.6lbs
  • Overall Length: 41inches
  • Barrel Length: 9inches approx
  • Stock: Walnut Sporter
  • Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
  • Energy: 10.4ft/lbs

10 Comments

  • Hi Brian, I'm glad you took the rifle back.

    These things happen from time to time, it's a pain for you but I'm sure you'll get sorted in the end.

    Default profile image
    Troll Hunter
    05 Feb 2015 at 09:01 PM
  • Thanks Troll Hunter. I took your advice and went back to the retailer today with the second Cometa. Two guys behind the counter struggled so much to cock the gun that one cut his finger open and bled all over the place!

    They've now ordered me a brand new one, which should arrive next week. In the meantime I've held on to the ex-display one, and will try greasing it up a bit. So next week I'll get the choice of the 3 guns, or my money back. These Cometa's seem to get great reviews, so hopefully I was just unlucky with two bad ones in a row.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

    Default profile image
    Brian
    05 Feb 2015 at 08:27 PM
  • you shouldn't really have to put up with either rifle!

    You've paid good money for an air rifle and the retailer should ensure you're happy with your purchase. If I were you I'd go back to the place you bought the rifle and explain the situation and see what they will do about it. Ideally you should get a new rifle, one without a droopy barrel that you have to shim the scope on.

    Let us know how you get on.

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    Troll Hunter
    05 Feb 2015 at 12:05 AM
  • I bought a Cometa Fenix 400S a few days ago from an agricultural chain store. It was the only one in stock at the branch. On setting it up, I found it had barrel droop so bad that I had to shim the scope with cardboard. After a few days I took it into a different branch of the retailer to compare it to another. All they had was a display model. It had slightly less noticesble droop, so i asked if i could take it home to try. They insisted i did a formsal exchange, though said i can swap it back if i want. Apart from the droop, and a slighly sticky safety catch, my original was gorgeous. Although technically the same model, this ex display one seems to have a slightly different (looks heavier duty) moderator. It's woodwork looks less well finished though, and has lots of little marks where they had cable-tied it to the display rack, plus a couple of minor splits in the walnut. Perhaps worst of all, it is significantly harder to break the barrel, or to close again. I can just manage it, but neither my wife or teenage son can budge it at all. However, it set up fine with my scope, without any need for the shim, and seems very accurate. Now I don't know whether to keep it, or ask the retailer to try to get another for me to compare. Perhaps the stiff break barrel is just because it's new? Perhaps I'm being fussy about the woodwork. Or should I have just stuck with a droopy barrel and a shimmed scope?

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    Brian
    04 Feb 2015 at 07:42 PM
  • I got a cometa fenix 400s carbine new and it wouldnt hold an accurate zero with any pellet. I thort it may be the richter optic scope it came with, so i borght a nikko stirling gameking but it was'nt that. After reading several articals by jim tyler in airgunworld i proceded to strip the gun completely(its easy)! I found it was heavily carboned up so i cleaned everything! The mainspring had a damaged end coil & poorly finished spring end that was bitting on the trigger block! I got a new standard mainspring from TW Chambers & fitted it. Now the 400s is amazing 1/2" cluster at 30m using rws superdomes & 11.8ft/lbs. At first i thort it was a rip off bit of rubbish but now Its now a great hunting gun worth the time spent on it! The first to come out my cabbinet to go shooting!

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    Ashley storton
    06 Jun 2012 at 02:21 PM
  • I bought a Cometa 400 from a local agricultural merchant thinking it would be agricultural in construction. The gun looked good , had a silencer and had excellent balance.
    When i shot it seemed ok until.... after twenty shots i closed the barrel and the gun went off all by its self!! The pellet luckily hit a high back stop i was using. The gun went straight back to where i bought it . It appeared the trigger wasn't engaging properly on a brand new gun
    I wouldn't buy another I am afraid.
    May be I was unlucky I don't know

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    Martin ROGERS
    19 Feb 2012 at 09:14 PM
  • Hi Paddy. We have given all the expert advice that we can in the articles. The BSA lightning in one form or another has been around for years and is well established as a good quality pest control/hunting rifle. The Cometa Fenix 400s Premier is a newer model but also has it's fans and is regarded by them as a capable hunter. If you have seen and felt the rifles in question, why not take it a step further and try firing them before making a decision; it really is the only way to go - 'try before you buy' is critical before you make such a personal purchase as a rifle. It really is up to you, because the rifle that one person likes may not be acceptable to someone else - that's why there is so much choice out there.

    Regarding air strippers, the idea behind it is to increase accuracy by reducing turbulence as the pellet leaves the muzzle. This technology works to a certain degree in pneumatic rifles (Ripley Rifles fit them and they are amongst the best in the world), but I'm not so sure about spring guns as they operate in a different way. However, we are just talking about an extra refinement here, and it certainly shouldn't have any bearing on recoil or sound. BTW: The 'recoil' that you feel with a spring air rifle is actually mechanical movement.

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    Pat Farey
    21 Feb 2011 at 12:01 PM
  • I was wondering which gun was better for hunting?
    Cometa Fusin V.S. BSA Lightning XL

    I have seen and felt both guns but I still can't make up my mind! I need some expert adcice to put my mind at rest.
    Thanks,
    Paddy.
    P.S. Does the Cometa Fusion air stripper reduce recoil and sound?

    Default profile image
    Paddy
    18 Feb 2011 at 09:15 PM
  • This is pretty much a case of personal choice as the rifles are both break barrels with similar properties, and both are capable of taking rabbits in the right hands. The Fenix is significantly lighter but less powerful than the Fusion.
    The best thing to do is get along to your local stockist and - if possible - fire them, or at least see how thay feel in your shoulder, check the cocking effort and basically see if it is suitably sized and 'feels right'.

    Default profile image
    Pat Farey
    16 Feb 2011 at 12:05 PM
  • Which Cometa is better for rabbit hunting?
    Fenix 400 Carbine V.S. Fusion

    Default profile image
    Paddy
    15 Feb 2011 at 11:36 AM


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