Daystate Merlyn PCP
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 27/01/2017
When I tested the very first Merlyn - a rather tasty laminate clad special edition - back in December 2005, it was obvious that Daystate had created something rather special.
That mouth-watering woodwork alone was set to turn a few heads, with its stunning figuring, a feature of the manufacturing process - i.e. when the shape is cut from a laminated blank (formed from bonded layers). Subsequent Merlyns have adopted the configuration of the original, but in walnut rather than laminate, but still display all the handling benefits of that original ‘special’.
My test rifle here is the updated action, set into the walnut thumbhole woodwork. The latest mechanical actions from Daystate now incorporate Steve Harper’s unregulated ‘slingshot’ hammer and valve system, which results in a much greater shot count than before, and apparently, a more efficient power delivery.
Let’s face it, Daystate’s brilliant electronic wizardy either turns you on or it doesn’t.
On a personal level, I’m mightily impressed by the ingenuity of it all, but still feel drawn to conventional mechanisms, if they compare favourably. The test Merlyn is visually near identical to an electronic MK4 model, with the more refined trigger blade on the Merlyn being the main distinguishing feature to tell them apart.
As requested, Daystate had kindly included one of their brand new Reflex silencers, which is simplicity itself to screw into place at the muzzle. What makes this accessory unusual (and inventive), is the fact that the thread lies internally, half way inside the body tube. This means that the rifle’s overall length is only increased by a little over three inches, instead of the silencer’s full length. With the barrel taking up internal space, the remaining capacity is obviously put to good use, with a baffle system concealed within the carbon fibre body.
Compactness with effiency then; and bear in mind that the ‘Reflex’ just pips the market leader in the noise suppression stakes (namely the model from Weihrauch), by a couple of decibels, and the £55 additional asking price starts to look reasonable.
Action and Woodwork
If you’re unfamiliar with the Daystate rifle layout (just where have you been!), then here’s the basic potted guide. Their rifles are supplied with a smart single shot tray and a ten shot magazine, and each work equally well, just requiring a nudge home, into the slot at the breech, once the bolt is withdrawn. A manual safety catch sits to the rear on a rocker switch, whilst the two-stage adjustable trigger is one of the best of the non-match units on the market. Personally I’d prefer a straight blade, but that’s rather splitting hairs with this rifle.
From the prescribed 200bar fill (stamped into the action), my chrono recorded a string of over 150 shots before velocities began to tail off markedly; and with an overall variation of 26fps throughout, the figures speak volumes for the Harper designed valving. Remember that no regulator is fitted to this rifle, unlike the original Merlyn, so this number of shots is exceptional to say the least.
The stock configuration is just about faultless in my book, with that deep box section just forward of the trigger, particularly useful when supporting standing shots. A full thumb shelf, or thumbhole… shoulder-hugging butt pad… finger grooves to the fore-end… and so the list goes on. This rifle’s suitability towards outdoor competition sports such as HFT or even FT, is obvious, and just look at some recent results and it becomes clear that mechanical rifles can still cut the mustard.
Indeed Rachel Waite proved a point, taking a national Hunter Field Target round this year at Basingstoke using a Daystate X2 model - their slightly more basic predecessor to this Merlyn, clearing the course with 60ex60… and not a solenoid to be seen.
Get In Quick!
Accuracy was effortless, and with quarter inch groups recorded over 35yds (centre-to-centre) using Daysate FT Select pellets, this Merlyn is clearly up there with the very best.
Now it’s time for a bombshell… as Daystate have seen fit to rationalize their product range, which doesn’t include a future for this rifle as it sits here! Shooters who prefer the mechanical approach as opposed to the electronically managed rifles, will have the Huntsman and Air Ranger models offered to them. This means either a relatively slim-line hunting rifle, or a ‘buddy bottle’ design, as per the Air Ranger; leaving a hole in the line-up, for a more adaptable configuration, that is equally at home in the field, or over a Hunter Field Target course. Outrageous? I’d say.
The stock on this Merlyn is just superb, and arguably the best factory woodwork currently on the market. To confine it solely to the electronic models is a shame indeed, and I for one shall be writing to my MP! Well perhaps not… he’s probably still on holiday anyway!
In the meantime, Daystate have a limited number of this excellent Merlyn model available, so if you are in the market for a top class sporting rifle to use in a variety of disciplines, this legendary gun represents a sound investment – but get in fast.