Falcon Prairie B Walnut Profile
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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
Falcon Airguns have undergone something of a resurgence in recent years, ever since NSP Engineering took them under their wing, and added them to their rather impressive company portfolio. Top class engineering sets the latest models from this British brand apart, along with some rather eye-catching woodwork.
My model for test here is the Prairie B 25inch action, in a walnut thumb-hole Profile (weight relieved) stock. First impressions on opening the transport carton, is of a simply stunning rifle. All the latest walnut creations have been farmed out to an Italian stock maker, due to the quantities required, but they really should be applauded for the quality of the finished product. The figuring on my specimen is pleasantly light, with contrasting swirling grain pattern, whilst the overall, silky matt finish is immaculate.
A Schnabel tip fore-end and pistol grip cap are both fashioned from Rosewood, finished off with a white line spacer; whilst the latest diamond patterned laser-cut chequering is perfectly applied. Whilst in theory, some of the soul has left the process, old fashioned hand-cut chequering was labour intensive and occasionally led to small over runs in the pattern from the hand tools. No such minute imperfections here, and whilst I am a traditionalist, this modern method holds real appeal.
Overall, the stock profile, with the deep, tapered fore-end and integral (wooden) trigger guard, harks back to some of John Bowkett’s designs when he was involved with Titan Airguns,(the precursor to Falcon). Excess weight is trimmed at the rear via the ‘skeletonized’ butt, lending yet more dramatic detail to an excellent piece of woodwork. The full thumbhole configuration includes a 90degree drop-down pistol grip, and the handling is just sublime. My favoured ‘thumb-up’ position is well catered for too, with a generous thumb shelf giving ultimate control- just how it should be. If I’m to nitpick with regards to the furniture, I reckon that a more concave, shoulder grabbing rubber pad would be beneficial, and that deep fore-end could be made just slightly flatter to cater for the target style standing position; but this furniture is too good to dwell on such matters.
So We Like The Handle, But What About the Business end?
Well, whilst effusing about the aesthetics, let’s not stop short of the action, since, in my view this particular rifle specification is both visually and tangibly spot-on. Falcon actually offer all their Prairie B models in two action length’s; being 18inch (carbine) or this 25inch (rifle) spec. I would opt for this full length layout every time, for the balance alone, yet carbines have a ready following, and it’s great that Falcon offer such an expansive list of options to their customers.
This elongated action coupled with the walnut Profile stock, results in a perfectly balanced rifle with a bias towards the muzzle. Centre of balance is some 5inches forward of the trigger, which gives you some idea of the inherent handling characteristics. This is my sort of rifle layout, and with some familiarisation, this Falcon should have real potential.
The ‘B’ in the name refers to ‘Bull’ barrel, whereby the bore is contained within an outer 20mm diameter shroud; the last few inches of which act as a integral expansion chamber. I’ll resist using the term ‘silencer’, since the muzzle report and general action noise is still considerable. With that substantial shroud in place, the bold, uncluttered lines of this model are particularly pleasing on the eye.
Falcon machine a threaded plug at the muzzle, which is simply unscrewed to allow the addition of a screw-in silencer which I would have to recommend, if this model is to see field action. The turned plug is particularly well machined, and adds a finishing touch to an already classy gun.
Not so impressive, (although still nicely finished) was the slightly slack feel to the charging valve cover. This knurled ring certainly looks the part, just below the muzzle, and has an important role to play, fending off grit and suchlike from the internals. Yet the collar itself (on the test rifle at least) gave little reassurance that it would stay safely closed. On a better note, the simple push-fit charging probe is a delight, and surely the slickest way to top up any PCP system. One word of caution here though. Unlike the ultra safe Air Arms ‘T’ bar locking adaptor, the probe method does require some vigilance and care to confirm that the probe is fully seated at the initial pressurization stage. For ease of use though, it’s a winner, in fact Falcon’s probe design takes some beating.
An integral on-board pressure gauge confirms when the required fill pressure has been reached, and the probe can simply be pulled from its coupling - simple.
Off to the Range
The breech area is all very neat and slickly machined, and pulling back the bolt reveals a loading tray which acts as a lead-in to the barrel. Rolling the pellet across and into the channel is the best approach, but I did find cocking the bolt just a little vague, and sticky; something that I would expect to improve with prolonged use.
Chronograph readings revealed an incredibly consistent string of 112 shots with a spread of just 15fps; a showing that some regulated models would struggle to match.
Over 35yds, and using Falcon’s own Accuracy Plus pellets, this rifle regularly printed tight clusters measuring 5/16inch relatively effortlessly, and despite a very average trigger. In my view it really is time Falcon invested in this area, as this very impressive piece of engineering deserves better. The first stage is quite heavy which will never help the second. Whilst I am fussy in this area, several rifles out there have better units than this one. What they don’t all possess, however, is this model’s looks and superb standard of finish.
Excellent balance and stunning consistency, (not to mention, inherent accuracy) combined with one of the best factory production stocks on the market, complete the impressive spec list. A mature adult PCP for the connoisseur then… and if Falcon would tweak that trigger, this highly desirable machine could become a world-beater!
Specified as 80 in .177 or 110 in .22, but on test this was substantially exceeded - from a 185bar pressure fill, 112 shots were recorded within 15fps (using Falcon Accuracy Plus pellets in.177)
PRICE: £560 approx.
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