Ripley Elite single shot PCP
- 2 Comments
- Last updated: 27/01/2017
Almost any airgunner, be they HFT, FT shooter or hunter will have heard of Ripley Rifles. It’s a name that is synonymous with luxury class hand built precision air rifles from talented PCP expert, Steve Wilkins. So the first thing I need to clear up is that this Ripley Elite wasn’t made by Ripley Rifles. Instead this is the brainchild of Jim Hogan who in his time has brought us the Logun Professional rifle and the DecimEater - one of the quietest air rifle silencers. The Ripley Elite is also being marketed by Highland Outdoors, one of the most active distributors and importers currently operating in the UK, so what’s the real deal?
Using Steve Wilkin’s design as the basis, Jim Hogan’s plan was to make a less costly Ripley on machinery in the Hogan Firearms factory, rather than a bench made – but expensive – hand crafted rifle. There were to be no half measures though, and this is what makes the Ripley Elite so special, as it has all those familiar features that made the original Ripley rifles work so well, but now with greater affordability.
Well, if first impressions are anything to go by then this is quite frankly one of the most practical and efficient air rifles to be launched for quite some time.
On first look the Ripley Elite just oozes class. You can’t fail to notice the workmanlike yet very attractive high grade walnut thumbhole stock, neither can you miss that huge stainless steel cocking bolt or the thick set raised action block and when spun in place the optional but recommended DecimEater Silencer. Even down to the familiar looking layout at the front of the air reservoir, with its knurled edged rotary filling port collar, coupled with the shiny stainless steel muzzle adapter just waiting to hold the previously mentioned can.
As for the woodwork, at present there are two stock options available for this rifle; a standard sporter stock and the thumbhole version featured on our test rifle. There’s a high right hand roll over cheekpiece with a thick ventilated black rubber butt pad. The pistol grip itself is quite frugal and also boasts a generous thumb channel should you prefer the ‘thumbs-up’ hold. Two panels of ‘designer’ look chequering adorn either side of the grip, and the cosmetics of these panels is duplicated along the quite substantial forend that tapers down to a Schnabel tip.
The metalwork has a semi matt finish which is just what a hunter needs. The chunky air reservoir takes a 200-bar fill via a filling probe at the front of the cylinder, and to keep dirt and grime out of the valve there’s a rotary collar to seal it off from the outside world. This fill gives approximately 85 full power shots in the .177 calibre test rifle and around 100 in .22.
The cocking bolt slides back to cock the rifle effortlessly and smoothly, as now all it has to do is seat a pellet into the barrel, rather than operating a magazine system.
Unusually the breech loading area is formed by the barrel which actually comes back and has the top cut away to form a ‘loading groove’. So the pellet isn’t being delivered into the breech past brass collars or sealing rings, it’s simply being pushed positively into position within the barrel, then sealed by the bolt when it is closed. This leaves the pellet well seated and ready for the internal valve to unleash enough air to power it out of the muzzle at just below the 12ft lb legal limit.
You may have also noted that there is no mention of an air regulator – a defining feature of original Ripley rifles - because the Elite doesn’t have one. Instead there are some very clever high efficiency internals that allow the pellet to be punched out with a consistency that would rival some regulated actions.
The test rifle came with a Nikko Stirling 4 – 16 X 50 Target Master scope which is also distributed by Highland Outdoors. My usual zero of 30-yds for a .177 calibre rifle was soon set and then shooting from a rested position the test became incredibly clinical with tight .177 size clusters being the norm, then one-hole groups right out to 45-yds. The Hogan DecimEater Silencer I’ve reviewed previously, so no surprises that on the Elite it proved to be just the ticket for taming muzzle report.
Pushing the tape to just over 41 ¼” the rifle combo handled like a dream. Although feeling solid, it was deceptively lightweight, and fully rigged it weighed barely over 7.5lbs and that’s with chunky Warne style mounts. The trigger unit was certainly another star of this show, with the nicely curved, highly adjustable alloy blade releasing shot after shot with unerring predictability.
Without a doubt we have something special here, because the price to performance ratio is bang on the button. The Ripley Elite is a highly desirable, superior handling, devastatingly accurate PCP air rifle which in single shot guise will be just at home on the HFT circuit as it will in the field.
Since writing this article an adjustable stock FT model and a multi-shot version of the Ripley Elite have both become available.
£719 for thumbhole version on test. Standard walnut sporter version £649