Daystate Huntsman Midas (Limited Edition)
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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
Back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Daystate were one of the few successful makers of pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles – in fact they were one of the pioneers of PCPs. Their Huntsman rifles were known for their ruggedness, reliability and accuracy, but in truth they weren’t the best looking of air rifles. As the name suggests, they were designed specifically for the hunting community, but just about that time there was another market for air rifles emerging – the Field Target circuit.
Field Target shooters wanted all the reliability and accuracy of the PCP system – which the Daystate Huntsman had in spades, but they also wanted a little more individuality and a morsel of razzle-dazzle, hence the popularity of custom made stocks, and shiny replacement metal parts – triggers, guards, bolt handles etc. – usually in highly polished brass.
Daystate’s answer was their original Midas model with walnut stock, a gleaming brassy air cylinder and numerous other glittery bits. The Midas was of course named after the accursed king who turned everything he touched to gold. With all that polished brass looking like burnished gold, the Midas was an immediate hit.
Fashions change and the Midas, like the original Huntsman, was eventually replaced by other, more modern and in vogue models. But now, in the first decade of the 21st Century, Daystate have resurrected the Huntsman, a retro looking rifle but now looking as good as it shoots, and packed with the latest airgun technology. Following the new Huntsman’s success, Daystate have followed it up with a brand new limited edition Midas - to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Midas - and it’s this jazzy new model that we are looking at here.
The new Midas is distinguished by a brass plated air cylinder, polished brass trigger and bolt, giving it the ‘gold’ look. The package includes the now standard on-board pressure gauge, walnut stock and comes pre-fitted with sling swivel studs.
Originally destined to be a limited edition of 200 rifles, these sold out immediately, so now the production run has been extended to 400.
Starting with the high grade walnut sporter stock, the Midas has a noticeably shallower forend than the Huntsman, and features a rosewood grip cap with whitewood spacer. Daystate usually have their stocks designed by Gary Cane, but this one is from Dutch master stock designer, Frederick van Breen – and what a great job he has made of it. Curvaceous lines, high set cheekpiece with rolled over comb, distinctive ergonomic pistol grip, schnabel tip… it really does blur the boundary between artistic sculpture and functional woodwork. Best of all, it seems to fit as soon as you pick it up, and that’s all that really matters.
There’s no doubt that there’s been a ‘nod’ towards the original Midas woodwork, but features like laser cut chequering and the Daystate logo etched into the wood are certainly new additions.
Although at 15” the Midas barrel is about 1” shorter than on the Huntsman, the overall length is 1.5” shorter at 36.5”. Weight is approx. 5.9lbs.
The barrel sits in a full length shroud that acts as a primary sound moderator. The barrel is semi free floating within the shroud, being cradled within a soft seal. The muzzle end of the shroud is threaded ½” UNF for a secondary silencer if required – Daystate can supply their own Airstream model for this purpose - but this obviously adds extra length and weight to what is essentially a compact design. Even without a secondary moderator the muzzle blast is muted, so try it before you decide to add additional moderation.
The action is the latest Daystate mechanical layout (as opposed to their electronic range) and consists of a bolt (with enlarged brass ball handle), breech block, rear mounted rocker safety switch and removable magazine. The 10-shot magazine is a reliable unit, and is entered into the breech from the left (for right-handers) or the stop can be reversed to allow left-handed shooters to enter it from the right. A slot in the back of the mag guides it into position, a pin stops it slipping completely through the action and a magnet holds it firmly in place. Alternatively an optional single shot tray can be used – which is preferable for FT and HFT shooters.
The trigger unit performs extremely well – this being an area that Daystate has put a lot of research and development into. The curved brass blade gives good finger contact and allows the unit to break crisply with no noticeable creep.
On The Range
As well as its obvious cosmetic appeal to some shooters, the Midas is just as accurate and efficient in use as the standard Huntsman. The Midas uses the latest Steve Harper Mk4 micro valve set-up with anti-bounce hammer which is claimed to give a 30% gain in efficiency, with around 60 shots in .177 from a 200bar charge. The test rifle came very close with 55 usable shots within a 22fps spread. The .22 calibre model is rated at around 75 shots per 200bar charge.
Luckily the gun was range tested on one of the few dry, windless days that we’ve seen this winter, making it relatively easy to achieve tight groups. From a bench rested position at 30yds the Midas easily put in five shot groups of 0.5” or less. At 40yds the best group was sub-0.6” and at 50yds the only flyer out of a best 0.75 inch group was undoubtedly caused by me. Pellets used were Crosman, Daystate Select and Air Arms Field. There were no appreciable differences in performance between the Selects and Fields throughout the ranges, while the Crosmans, oddly enough, gave slightly better groupings at the two closer ranges but were definitely looser at the longest distance.
Without a doubt this is a nice rifle, reflecting nostalgically to the original Midas, but performing much better – PCPs have certainly come on a long way in thirty years. If you like your rifle slim, lightweight and with a bit of glitz about it, the Huntsman Midas could be for you – and if all that glistens isn’t gold in your eyes, you’ll get the same performance (and slightly more shots) from the more reserved yet equally attractive Huntsman Classic.
Each Huntsman Midas comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, as only 400 of this model will be made.