Recoilless shooting is the key to rampant sales figures where pneumatic airguns are concerned, as they simply make it easier for everyone to shoot more accurately with less effort. Multi-shot systems, utilising a magazine-fed action, make the path even easier, to fast fire action; and under the spotlight here are a selection of guns, all designed with fast back up shots in mind.
BSA R10 SE CCS
BSA are of course a household name, and through clever evolution, have stood the test of time. The R10 is a classic example of what the company now does best, and certainly looks the part. It's a multi-shot, bolt- action, regulated pneumatic, with a 10-shot magazine, 200cc on-board buddy bottle, 2-stage semi match trigger, and that wonderfully stylish walnut stock. The clever bit is that the R10 SE CCS can be easily altered to allow the shroud to be added or removed, that's the CCS bit, denoting 'Customer Configurable Shroud'. BSA supply all the necessary components in the box, and there's no doubt it adds a new dimension to ownership, with no tools required. Shroud and silencer, or just the latter the choice is yours, giving the R10 SE CCS a distinctively different profile. Noise suppression and accuracy are pretty well identical, in either guise, so it's a cosmetic exercise at the end of the day, but clever marketing nonetheless. For what it does, is allow us enthusiasts to alter the look of our gun, without actually seriously changing it at all; so, effectively two guns in one!
Contact: BSA Guns (UK) Ltd; www.bsaguns.co.uk
Accuracy: 10mm c-t-c over 35 yards on test
Brocock Bantam Compatto Hi-lite
Brocock's ground-breaking Compatto gave us a new approach, since it moved the action around 5-6” further back; but unlike a full Bullpup design, still allowed for a conventional butt layout. The Bantam Hi-Lite, builds on the success and popularity of the original, but uses a front-mounted buddy bottle instead, meaning shot count is significant. Weight is reduced with the use of carbon fibre for the bottle, and for fans of this style of PCP, it has to be a smart move. The PCP bolt action uses the standard, rotary, 10-shot magazine cassette, and comes complete with an integral pressure gauge, 2-stage semi-match trigger, Steve Harper designed Slingshot hammer system, and a re-settable safety catch. There's also a reach-forward scope rail, full-length barrel shroud incorporating an integral baffled silencer and adaptor for second stage silencer, and adjustable power to 3-levels. As for the stained and lacquered ambidextrous skeleton beech stock, it features adjustable cheek and butt sections, which really elevates fit and handling. That's quite some specification sheet, and a clever evolution of the format!
Contact: Brocock; www.brocock.co.uk
Accuracy: 12mm c-t-c at 35yards on test
The Coyote represents Gamo’s first proper entry into the world of pre-charged pneumatics, and at sub £400, it's an aggressively marketed broadside to the opposition too. Being able to work closely with BSA, (courtesy of their commercial links) gave Gamo an invaluable fast-track entry into the world of PCPs, by tapping into the research and technological know-how, learnt along the way. So, that explains the vaguely familiar look to the action, and utilisation of what looks like a derivative of the BSA 10-shot magazine. ‘Made in E.U.’ is printed on the side, but with the barrel stamped ‘hammer-forged’, and BSA one of the main exponents of the art, it’s a reasonable assumption that the British-based company had significant input in the Coyote’s design and manufacture. An attractive bolt handle adds a touch of refinement, as does the small muzzle diffuser. Fancy a silencer to tame the report and the diffuser simply unscrews. Trigger-wise, Gamo fit their SAT2 (smooth action trigger) mechanism, and it really is all rather civilised. As for that highly attractive, if chunky woodwork, it bucks the trend, and actually hails from Gamo’s factory in Spain. It all works well, and in short, is hard to fault for the money.
Contact: BSA Guns (UK) Ltd, www.bsaguns.co.uk
Accuracy: 16mm c-t-c at 35yards on test
Air Arms S510
The S510 is a perfect example of what top British manufacturer, Air Arms is capable of, with precisely machined CNC components, and the usual thorough design leading the way. Admittedly built around what is ostensibly the 400 action, the addition of that super slick side-lever, and full-length barrel shroud, are enough to give this model a distinctly different, not to mention classy feel. Add in the beautifully styled Minelli woodwork, and the end result is both pleasing to the eye, as well as highly functional. Fine Fleur-de lis, laser-cut chequering, and rosewood capping on the Schnabel forend and grip, compliment the well-defined cheek piece; and the S510 is nothing if not pretty. But Air Arms are all about performance when it comes down to it, and with their renowned, yet appealingly simple 10-shot magazine at its heart, snugly held within the action, confidence has to be high out in the field. A decent 2-stage trigger, and that ultra-safe 'T' bar charging valve are the icing on the cake, making the S510 an impressive option with more than a head start over many rivals.
Contact: Air Arms; www.air-arms.co.uk
Accuracy: 8mm c-t-c at 35yards on test
Hatsan Galatian III Carbine
Turkish manufacturer, Hatsan, has a reputation for building unusual airguns, and the Galatian models are firmly in that category; given their distinctive shotgun-style looks. The Galatian III Carbine, where the 'III' denotes an adjustable synthetic thumbhole stock, wouldn't be out of place on a Planet of the Apes set, yet solid build and impressive functionality, soon wins over any doubts. Muzzle report is fairly tame, given that oversized shroud complete with integral silencer, and shot count on test, was also impressive. What really stands out though, apart from the Quattro trigger, is the super slickness of that delightful side-lever, which performed without a single hitch or jam when this model was originally tested. Magazines are simple open castings-14 shots in .22, and 16 in .177, and so are easy to keep a track on. Stock adjustments are also easy- just slacken off the bolts, adjust both the cheek piece and butt pad, and eye-scope alignment should be perfectly set to suit. Quirky for sure, but very well executed!
Contact: Edgar Brothers; www.edgarbrothers.com
Accuracy: 12mm c-t-c at 35yards on test
Turkish manufacturer Kral has been causing quite a stir of late, with its radically styled Puncher Armour PCP, but the original and less controversial Puncher model is included here. OK; the format is conventional, with the familiar barrel over cylinder layout hardly breaking new ground; but, closer inspection reveals a very capable rifle. Get past those curvaceous, aesthetically pleasing lines, (helped in no small part by the attractive Turkish Walnut) and it's the spec list that really stands out. For a start, there's a multi-shot action (12-shots in .22 and 14 in .177), side-lever cocking, 2-stage trigger, pre-threaded muzzle, probe charging, integral pressure gauge, manual safety catch, and dual scope rails. But there's also fibre optic open sights, a well-shaped, easily adjustable trigger, and a power adjuster, so the Puncher comes very well appointed indeed. In use, the magazine system adopted is a little fiddly when compared to some, but all works fine once familiarisation has taken place. Throw in a good level of performance overall, and of course that bargain price, keeps the Puncher high on any general purpose multi-shot shortlist.
Accuracy: Expect around 12mm c-t-c at 35yards
Rapid Air Weapons HM1000
Rapid Air Weapons, or RAW as they are known, are manufactured in the States, and their competition version, the TM1000, has won its fair share of silverware in both Benchrest and HFT shoots. On show, here though, is the HM1000, hunting model, and this utilises a buddy bottle upfront, and magazines similar to the old Theoben design; all specified as 12-shot, apart from .177 which gets a 17-shot cassette. What appeals to me is the relative simplicity of the layout, with a chunky, ultra-robust action, supporting a free- floating barrel. The same regulated action and quality semi match trigger unit, are utilised here, along with a seriously effective silencer, packed out with noise dampening material, so plenty to get excited about. Easily the most expensive here in our line-up, and as an import from the States, final retail prices are dependent upon the exchange rates and duties applicable at the time. A great option nonetheless, for enthusiasts prepared to invest in quality.
Accuracy: 12mm c-t-c groups at 45yards on test
Weihrauch HW100 SK FSB
Best described as ‘typically Weihrauch’, the HW100 family are well designed, super solidly engineered rifles, from one of the most famous names in airguns. Pick up an HW100 and it soon becomes obvious that your holding a properly engineered rifle, built to do a job. Yes, it's true, they have made little changes to the original specification since the outset, yet the success of this model is proof that they got it pretty well right from the outset. Their rotary mag, with its multi tooth, retention and indexing system, is one of the very best on the market, and the sporter stock (thumbhole versions are available) has to be one of the most comfortable handles on the market. Right-hand dedicated grips, where the palm is fully supported, make a big difference, and the grade of walnut is also impressive. Whilst I’m no fan of guns that need their cylinder to be removed for charging, here, Weihrauch have arrived at the ultimate specification, whereby a quick fill probe system is fitted to the front, yet the cylinder can still be removed for safety inspection at some point further down the line. All very reassuring.
Contact: Hull Cartridge Ltd; www.hullcartridge.co.uk
Accuracy: 8mm c-t-c @ 35yards on test
FX Verminator MKII
I recently tested the upgraded version of FX’s Verminator, and I have to say the MKII version proved to be one of the best FX rifles I have shot to date. It’s another ‘take-down’ design, coming supplied in a small brief case style padded box, containing the buddy bottle complete with cheek piece assembly, and main action block. FX are masters of black synthetic stock design, and the Verminator’s two-piece offering, looks the part, and handles accordingly. The multi-shot action comes with the company’s own rotary magazines- (12-shot in .22, 16 in .177) rather fragile, but slick in operation; but the real ace up the Verminator’s sleeve, is the on-board power adjuster. Just turn the wheel and select your power setting. 7, 9, or 12 ft/lb full power, the choice is yours! Superbly tight groups on test, were evidence that FX could have turned a corner with their substantial investment in SmoothTwist barrel technology too, and overall, I was left mightily impressed by this slick piece of machinery. Not cheap, but a great performer.
Contact: ASI; www.a-s-i.co.uk
Accuracy: 5mm c-t-c over 30 yards on test
Walther Rotex RM8
The Walther brand, built by Umarex in Germany, has earned a reputation for quality over many years, but their foray into the buddy bottle sector, was a while coming. The Rotex RM8 offers an un-regulated compressed air design, with a 200cc bottle at its heart, and an 8-shot rotary magazine, neatly installed in the action and it all works well. The beech stock is particularly attractive, with that distinctive swell of the forend creating a hand shelf, with much the same sweep as the latest BSAs for example. Stock finish and feel is excellent, with crisp chequering both functional and attractive. Shot count is healthy too, which you would expect from this style of airgun, although gripping forwards and touching the air bottle may be irritating for some. If bottle-fed actions do appeal, then factor in the sweetly weighted 2-stage trigger here, and that threaded muzzle weight, and this model has to be seen as great value for the current asking price.
Contact: John Rothery!
Accuracy: Half inch c-t-c at 30 yards