There have been times when I’ve wondered if I would ever discover an air rifle that would be as much pure fun as my very first BB gun.
With the Marocchi SM45 HP, I’ve found a strong candidate. Think of the SM45 as a BB gun for adults or perhaps a BB gun on steroids.
The SM45 stretches 37.5 inches from end to end and weighs 4.4 lbs. empty. There are two versions, the synthetic and the wood look. I tested the synthetic. At the aft end of the buttstock you’ll find a soft rubber butt pad. Moving forward, the ambidextrous butt stock has a slight cheek piece on either side. The pistol grip has a soft rubber gripping surface, and the Marocchi emblem is displayed in silver on the end of the pistol grip.
Moving forward, the trigger guard is molded of the same synthetic as the stock and houses a black plastic trigger. Forward of the trigger guard is a knurled wheel that can be unscrewed to open a hatch in the forestock that houses an 88-gram CO2 cartridge. Forward of the forestock is the .177 caliber Lothar-Walther barrel.
At the end of the barrel is a plastic fitting that serves as a mount for the red fiber-optic front sight and also has a fitting into which the magazine snaps. Moving rearward along the barrel, there is a barrel band, the rear notch sight, and the receiver proper which has an 11mm dovetail. (When I tried to mount a scope on the SM45, I found the rail a bit flimsy. I would suggest using only the lightest scope if you think you really need one.) The rear end of the magazine, which runs the length of the right side of the barrel, snaps into the receiver on the right side. On the right side of the receiver at the rear is a slide safety. Move it right to safe the SM34. Move it to the left position to allow the gun to fire. Finally, at the rear of the SM45 receiver is a knob that can be used for adjusting the power.
To ready the SM45 for shooting, first put the gun on SAFE, then unscrew the knurled knob just forward of the trigger guard. The hatch will automatically open. You can then insert an 88-gram CO2 cartridge into the hatch with the threaded end toward the trigger guard. Screw it in until it is snug.
Next remove the magazine by pulling the knob at the muzzle end of the magazine back toward the receiver until the muzzle end of the magazine can be slipped out the muzzle fitting. Pull the free end of the magazine toward the muzzle, and the other end of the magazine will slip out of the magazine housing on the receiver. Next, push the knob – the BB follower – at the receiver end of the magazine forward in the long slot on the side of the magazine until it can be hooked into the notch at the far end of the slot.
Next, point the muzzle end of the magazine toward the floor and inert up to 80 Marocchi copper-coated lead balls into the magazine. With the muzzle of the SM45 pointed toward the ground, slide the receiver end of the magazine back into the magazine housing on the receiver. Snap the muzzle end of the magazine back into the fitting on the muzzle. Now all that remains is to unhook the BB follower the notch so that it can put tension on the BBs in the magazine.
To fire the SM45, take aim at your target, slide the safety to FIRE, and squeeze the trigger. The trigger pull is long and rolling and tops out at more than 10 pounds, put it feels like the trigger pull in a revolver and is very predictable.
The SM45 launches lead BBs at nearly 650 fps on high power and at around 500 fps on low power. At 88 gram CO2 cartridge will deliver around 200 shots, or about 2.5 magazines full of BBs. With open sights, I found I could easily keep shots inside a 1.5 inch circle at 10 yards.
But the real fun came with out-and-out plinking. I dropped a tomato sauce on the ground and absolutely shredded it. The first few shots passed completely through the can. Then it fell over, and I bounced it this way and that, spinning it left and right until it looked like something that been through a war. I suppose in a way it had!
Would I recommend the Marocchi SM45? Absolutely – but only if you want to let the little kid in you out for some can-busting fun.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott