To ready the Air Range for shooting, you first have to load the magazine, and, fortunately, it is one of the easiest loading magazines I’ve seen in a long time. Here’s the drill: hold the magazine so that the side with the multiple holes is facing toward you. Insert a pellet, nose-first, into the first pellet bay through the large hole at the bottom of the magazine. You will probably have to use something to push the pellet fully into the pellet bay. I used a ballpoint pen with the point retracted. Rotate the silver part of the magazine counter-clockwise until it clicks and the next empty pellet bay is visible. Insert the next pellet into that bay, and so forth. Just keep doing that until the magazine if full. It’s quick, easy, and straightforward.
To insert the magazine into the action, pull the bolt back and slide the magazine in from the left side with the multi-hole face pointed toward the buttstock. Note well: when you pull the bolt back, pull it all the way back until it clicks. Why? Because it is possible to pull the bolt back far enough that you can insert the magazine but not far enough that the action is cocked.
That happened to me the first time I attempted to shoot the Air Ranger. There I was – the magazine inserted into the rifle, the bolt forward so that a pellet had been pushed into the barrel, the safety off, and I couldn’t get the rifle to fire! That sort of situation makes me very, very nervous. After a quick phone call to Airguns of Arizona, I was instructed to pull the bolt back fully until it clicked. Unfortunately, that also cycled the magazine again, so now I had two pellets in the barrel. That happened to me three times while I was testing the Air Ranger, and the only cure (besides prevention) is to pull the trigger, send two pellets downrange at the same time, and try again.
So, having inserted the magazine and pulled the bolt back until it clicks, push the bolt forward to slide a pellet out of the magazine and into the barrel. Take aim at your target, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. On the sample that I tested, the first stage came out at l lb , 1.4 oz. At 1 lb, 12.7 oz, the shot went downrange – with a tremendous bang and crack.
I had not realized it at first, but I was shooting the 50 foot-pound version of the .22 Air Ranger. The light JSB .22 Express pellets were clearly going supersonic. I emptied the magazine and loaded some JSB .22 Jumbo pellets. There was no more supersonic crack, but the gun was still loud, although significantly subdued compared to some other very high powered air rifles I have shot. Even though the Jumbo pellets were ripping downrange at around 1076 fps (41 foot-pounds), at 30 yards I was able to shoot a pretty shamrock-shaped group that you could cover with a dime.
The folks at AoA tell me that most of the guys who own the 50 fp .22 Air Ranger are shooting Exact 18 gr heavy pellets (1041 fps, 44 fp) or Baracuda Match 21.1 gr pellets (1000 fps, 47 fp). You can expect around 45 usable shots from a fill to 230 bar.
The bottom line: the 50-fp .22 Air Ranger is a big, hairy, powerful air rifle that, aside from being louder than your neighbors might enjoy, does many things well. If you need an air rifle capable of taking down large pests with a single shot, the Air Ranger has all the goodies, and it’s nice to look at as well.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott