My first thought upon opening the box was--- WHOA BUDDY!!!! The appearance of this rifle is SPECTACULAR!!! The stock has a graceful curving shape and is somewhat of a dark walnut wood with stippled pistol grip and rollover cheek piece. The reservoir and barrel are bead blasted and chrome plated to give a very pleasant matte silver surface. The muzzle brake compensator is also identical in surface appearance, but is made of aluminum. The color is quite closely matched. The breech block, fill cap, and compensator mount are all matte black. The net effect is one of striking color and pleasant contour. Fit and finish was typical Daystate-first rate in every way. The stock finish was satin and very even and smooth.
At this point, 2 defects were noted. The first was cosmetic. There was a very small chip in the wood at the edge of the stock mount hole. The second was difficult chambering of the pellet. I decided to disassemble it and found that the barrel was not pushed all the way into the mounting sleeve. Since this is basically a Harrier, the barrel was designed to be easily interchanged and it is grub screwed into the mounting sleeve. I loosened the grub screws and pushed the barrel all the way into the sleeve and tightened up the screws while keeping tension on the barrel. I reassembled it and pellets were now easily chambered. While I had the stock off, I tested and adjusted the trigger. This trigger is a standard Daystate model, which is very adjustable and precise in feel. It does NOT go as low in tension as their CRX or previous Competition triggers, but is nonetheless a very nice trigger. Before adjusting, it measured 28 oz with a bit of creep. I put a teeny dab of moly on the sear surfaces and adjusted both the let off and sear engagement and the result was a very nice smooth first stage with no trace of interference and a sharp second stage that broke at 23 oz. Quite nice!
On to the shooting!!!
Testing was done at 30 yds, primarily because of local wind conditions. Fill pressure was to 2800 psi. Crosman Premier 10.5 gn, Daystate 4.52 mm, 8.4 gn, and Webley Lazapell 9.0 gn pellets were tested with 5 groups of 5 shots. Premier 10.5's gave best accuracy with an average of .436 in. and a smallest group of .287" and a largest group of .528". Velocities started at 879 ft/sec and peaked at 894 on the 7th shot, then held fairly constant, gradually tapering off to 866 by the 25th shot. Average was 883 ft/sec and extreme spread was 29 ft/sec.
Daystate (manufactured by JSB) were next. The first shot was 970 ft/sec with a peak at shot 5 of 970 and was at 931 on the 25th shot. In general, this pellet began at a high velocity and gave a constantly decreasing speed until I stopped the test. The average group size was .492" with a smallest group of .388" and a largest group size of .621".
The Webley Lazapell's started at 968 ft/sec and rose to 970 ft/sec on the 6th shot with gradually tapering velocity until I stopped the test at the 25th shot with a velocity of 917 ft/sec. Average group size was .614" with a smallest group of .345" and a largest group of .934".
Several interesting notes about the velocity and groups were noted. First, the best groups were the very first ones with each pellet type. In the Premier and Webley pellets, the last group was DOUBLE the size of the first one shot. There must be a correlation, but I'm not sure what it might be. Second, the velocity had a flat area on the graph only for the Premiers. This is not a usual occurrence for most Daystate's unless they are intentionally set up for highest power. In any event, they can usually be tuned without much trouble to give a nice flat close velocity region for a good number of shots. An average rifle will give 20 to 25 shots at 17 ft/lb with an ES of 15 ft/sec, in my experience. Third, careful cleaning of the barrel and experimentation with stock screw tightness can usually make these rifles shoot significantly finer accuracy. In discussing several matters with Tony Belas from the Daystate factory, it was mentioned that Daystate accuracy tests every single rifle action and if it would not shoot a single hole, it was returned to the bench for troubleshooting. This means to me that the accuracy potential was higher than what I was achieving and the usual culprit is stock screw tightness or bedding. BUT-since the accuracy is already pretty decent, only extremely picky individuals like myself would likely even worry about it.
This rifle has been a joy
to test. The stock fits SO WELL from a variety of positions, including
bench work that it is difficult to envision a better one. I asked
several people of different sizes to try it in at least a couple
positions. Only one negative was noted from a person with small
hands that mentioned the pistol grip was slightly uncomfortable.
My hands are somewhat large and most others were at least medium
and we universally LOVED this stock. It not only looks good but
also feels very comfortable in your hands and on your face. The
overall weight was less than all of my dedicated FT rigs, but
the balance was good for both sitting and offhand, and the stock
fit was superb, so it should fare quite well as a good overall
rifle for FT, Silhouette, plinking, and hunting.