“Hey, that looks like a real rifle!” That’s an exact quote from Dick Johnson, a benchrest competitor who frequently accompanies me to the range to test air rifles. In saying that, Dick showed that he had gotten the point of the new Daystate Huntsman exactly. It’s an air rifle that is designed to look and feel like a traditional firearm.
Dick is accustomed to me showing up with a trunk full of pneumatic arms that look like they came from Darth Vader’s workshop, so for him to say that he likes the way an air rifle looks is, well, remarkable.
And in this case, the object of Dick’s admiration wasn’t just a new Daystate Huntsman, but a Daystate Huntsman Midas. The gun I was testing was, in fact, #123 of a limited edition of 400. These special limited Midas Editions of the Huntsman were created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Huntsman Air Rifle produced by Daystate on September 28, 1998. It’s fitted with the latest Harper Patent slingshot valve system, a special American Walnut stock, and Rosewood grip cap, as well as a gold-finished tube and fittings. How do I know? Easy: the rifle came with a hand-signed certificate attesting to its authenticity.
Over the years I have learned, through bitter experience, to harden my heart to the charms of shapely stocks, well-figured walnut, and snazzy accoutrements. It’s performance that matters, Darn It! Having said that, I’ll have to admit that the Huntsman Midas is pretty easy on the eye.
The Huntsman stretches 38 inches from buttplate to muzzle, and weighs six pounds. Starting at the rear, you’ll find a ventilated rubber buttplate attached to that American Walnut stock. The version I tested was righthanded and had a distinct cheekpiece on the left hand side of the stock. Below the buttstock and just ahead of the buttpad, a stud for a sling was attached. Forward of that is the pistol grip, which is checkered on both sides and is fitted with the rosewood cap and a lighter colored spacer.
Ahead of the pistol grip is the black metal trigger guard with a gold-colored metal trigger inside. Above the trigger guard, on either side of the stock, the Daystate name and emblem are incised into the stock. The two-stage trigger is adjustable for second stage weight, trigger blade angle, and first stage travel. Ahead of that is an allen screw for holding the action in the stock, and still further ahead is an air gauge, with a gold-colored trim ring, that reads in bar.
Moving toward the muzzle again, the forestock is checkered on either side, and you’ll find another sling stud. At the end of the forestock are a barrel band and a black metal cap, which when removed, reveals a foster fitting for filling the air reservoir. The gold-finished air reservoir is visible between the top of the forestock and the matte black finished barrel. At the end of the barrel is a cap that can be unscrewed for fitting a silencer where legal.
Traveling back along the barrel, you’ll find the receiver, which has dovetails for fitting a scope, the breech – where the ten-shot rotary magazine can be inserted – and the gold-finished bolt handle. Below the bolt handle on the left side of the receiver is the rotary safety. Flick the red anodized tab UP for fire and DOWN for safe.
Next time, we’ll see how the Daystate Huntsman Midas shoots.
Til then, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott