Cometa Orion Bullpup PCP
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- Last updated: 24/04/2017
Over the last couple of years, it’d be fair to say that the marketplace has progressively become awash with ‘bullpup’ style PCP air rifles, due to a never-ending parade of models hitting the gunracks on a seemingly monthly basis. Some released from established UK airgun manufacturers but many more coming from hitherto previously unknown overseas brand names and/or manufacturers relatively new to the manufacture of PCPs.
In this case, it’s the latter, as the bullpup on test comes from Spanish gun manufacturers Cometa – a company better known for their range of solidly built springers. However, it follows hot on the heels of their first ever multi-shot PCP – that being the Orion. An air rifle quickly proving to be a very capable, well built, full size sporter design multi-shot. No prizes then, for guessing ‘shorty’ here is based on the aforementioned rifle chassis, although modified in key areas to be transformed into a bullpup.
Now, at risk of stating the obvious, it’s a necessity that the stock design of a bullpup must cater for the action being set as far back as possible and the trigger having to be set forward of the magazine to give a normal reach to pull. I mention this, as in my opinion, it’s a reason (which I’m sure many will have noticed) results in quite a lot of different models of bullpup looking quite similar. In that respect, it’d be fair to say that the stock of the Orion BP stands out from most, due to a few well-considered and very useful features being included in its build. There are also two stock finishes, beech wood and as per rifle here on test, beech wood treated to a ‘tactical’ black finish. I use the much over used term ‘tactical’ as it’s very apt, due to the overall military styling of the Orion BP and in my opinion cosmetically the black ‘anti-glare’ finish suits it to a ‘T.’
The butt section follows a very simple but effective format, having plus points and downsides – the latter being the lack of a cheekpiece due to the position of the action, so your cheek rests against bare metal! However, that said, this isn’t uncomfortable and doesn’t hinder eye-scope alignment in the slightest.
Starting at the rear, the stock has a full, flat black rubber buttpad, which adjoins a contoured, full, deep section that soon curves inwardly upwards to continue forward under the action, past the ‘special’ pistol grip (note that term for later), until it drops straight down just forward of the trigger mechanism. This section is a key area in protection, as it extends downwards approximately 3/8-inches lower than the bottom edge of the trigger blade, therefore ‘guarding’ the front of the unit. To add further protection, a straight flat metal black bar is securely attached to the underside of the forward section of the stock to extend approximately 1½-inches rearward, forming what is in effect quite a basic yet practical trigger guard.
Now to the ‘special’ bit as alluded to earlier. The synthetic rubberised well-appointed pistol grip is a standout feature; as rather than being part of the stock it’s attached to the underside of the rifle chassis and drops down at an angle and includes both finger ridging, sections of stippling and the material itself has a non-slip feel. It even has an internal hidden compartment accessed by sliding a ridged rubberised cover on the underside of the grip to the rear, which then reveals an oval cavity. It isn’t that large, so for storage it’s quite limited but I suppose it’s a handy place to keep a scope lens cleaning cloth. It’s also military in configuration, being very ergonomic and ideally positioned for operating the very generously sized, wellcurved stainless steel trigger blade. A nice inclusion is the discrete manual trigger safety lever, set forward of the main blade. Pull back to engage; push forward to go ‘live.’
Now at the forward section, we find more goodies included – as the quite lengthy (for a bullpup) flat-sided forend is home to an underslung accessory rail, already fitted with a synthetic military style drop down forend grip. This ‘handle’ also has ridging at the front, a multitude of small slots at the rear, as well as lengthy panels of stippling on both sides to aid grip. This is a superb addition to the rifle, made even more versatile as it isn’t just fixed in the six o’clock (straight down) position. Pressing a button positioned top left on the handle itself allows it to be adjusted to angle back or forth 45-degrees, or sit completely flush to the underside of the stock, articulated fully forward or to the rear. Obviously, these types of grip aren’t to everyone’s taste but in this case its inclusion is welcome, because combined with the pistol grip, it gives you total authority on the control of the rifle, especially when you need to get up on aim quickly. Also, if it doesn’t suit, then it’s completely removeable, which means you can use the weaver style accessory rail it’s attached to for fitting accessories such as a bipod, laser or torch. Finally, there’s a very useful air gauge positioned discreetly in the underside of that ‘weight saving’ butt section between butt pad and grip.
The air reservoir is almost completely engulfed by the stock and action except for the push on metal end cap that protects the bayonet style fill point. Once removed, clip on the charging adaptor (supplied) and a recommended 200bar fill is claimed by the makers to give approximately 190 full power shots in .22 calibre and 150 in .177 calibre. I found 190 a little on the ambitious side, as the .22 calibre test rifle gave approximately 160 before noticeably dropping off in consistency and power.
Now we come to the action, magazine and overall metalwork. First, a mention of scope attachment, which is catered for by a slightly raised Weaver style rail nicely positioned for fitting a day or NV scope. I chose to fit a Richter Optik 3-9x50AOE, which I soon discovered proved to be a nice pairing.
The magazine design is a familiar format but intriguingly holds 13 pellets in .22 calibre and 17 in .177. After pulling back the large chunky stainless steel cocking bolt found at the rear of the action block, the magazine can easily be taken out from the right. To load the Perspex fronted magazine, you first rotate the clear plate anti-clockwise against spring tension, until it comes to a natural stop. Then, while still holding the plate in this position, reverse it and load the first pellet ‘skirt first’ into the empty exposed chamber (seen bottom right from this side.) Then turn the magazine around, and under control of your fingers, let the cover plate return to its original position, while loading pellets into the rest of the empty chambers as they appear (now seen positioned bottom left) as normal – in other words ‘head first.’ A feature of note is the magazine has an integral lug protruding from the left front side at its base. This has a lateral groove on the outer edge which mates up with a ‘location bar’ fitted at the very left hand side of the action’s magazine housing. A simple but very effective design that ensures it’s positioned correctly and precisely when in situ. Once back in the action, the bolt can then be returned to the closed position, whereupon it probes a pellet directly into the breech and you’re good to go.
Once loaded up, and with a suitable optic on board, I then began appreciating the quality of the 2-stage adjustable trigger unit and certainly the overall rock steady handling of the gun. The trigger released crisply and cleanly and the safety lever is very positive in use. Also, the more I used the rifle the more the configuration of the pistol grip impressed, being very comfortable in the hold and a superb base for aiding optimum trigger control.
Inherent accuracy of the gun isn’t an issue and your aim is certainly aided by the fore and aft drop down grips that your hands naturally soon become accustomed to. I was surprised but, as a hunter, very pleased that the thickset barrel shroud wasn’t only for cosmetic reasons, as it did a very fine job of taming muzzle report. Even more impressive when you consider it only sleeves back 10” on what in effect is a quite lengthy 18.5- inch cold-hammered barrel.
Incidentally, you’ll notice a substantial metal barrel clamp at the rear of the shroud as the ‘middle section’ holding the scope rail has a military style ‘heat dispersion’ cover – this isn’t just a nice cosmetic touch but also serves to protect and stabilise the un-shrouded barrel before it enters the breech block.
With so much choice now in this sector of the market, anything released to compete has got to stand out, so having a few nifty practical extras helps and if it’s priced right then you’re pretty much in the right ballpark. In a nutshell, that’s what I feel the Cometa Orion Bullpup has achieved, as it ticks all the right boxes we now expect of an air rifle of this type. Although it’s quite hefty, especially with a scope on board, it’s ‘true’ weight isn’t felt, as the rifle sits well back in the shoulder, while the ‘hand grips’ enable it to be held in the perfect position for handling and balance. Accuracy is impressive and the muzzle report being tamed so effectively must be given credit. If you like your air rifles on the short side, or prefer military styled bullpups, then I’ve no hesitation in saying that if you’re looking for an air rifle of this type, the Cometa Orion Bullpup Multi-shot PCP is one ‘little puppy’ that should definitely be considered.
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