Some years ago, very early in my career as an airgun writer, I was taught an important and harsh lesson: when it comes to airgun performance, looks don’t matter. The gun in question was a Beeman Crow Magnum. It had been loaned to me, and when I pulled it from the box, I fell instantly in love. The exotic hardwood stock was a thing of beauty, and the bluing on the metal work looked like it was a foot deep. After just one look, I was already making plans to justify purchasing such an expensive springer.
As soon I shot the Crow Magnum, I rapidly changed my mind. I couldn’t adapt to the recoil of the powerful Theoben gas-ram powerplant, and I was unable to shoot better than 1.5 inch groups at 10 yards. Beautiful or not, I couldn’t wait to send that gun back to its owner. (Eventually I asked another airgunner who had mastered the Crow Magnum how he did it, and he said that the secret was to “apprentice yourself to the Crow Magnum and don’t shoot anything else. When you do that, the Crow Magnum shoots as good as it looks.”)
Having said all that, I would be less than forthright if I didn’t admit that I was taken with the looks of the Daystate Huntsman Classic XL in .177. It is a beautiful air rifle that stretches 38 inches from end to and weighs just a bit over six pounds. The version that I tested was designated “XL,” which means that it has an extra-large air reservoir to extend the shot count per fill, although the folks at Airguns of Arizona tell me that the short air tube version actually out-sells the XL. Go figure.
At the extreme aft end of the XL is a ventilated rubber butt plate attached to a Walnut stock with a black spacer. The stock is right-handed and has a distinct cheek piece on the left hand side of the stock. Forward of the buttstock 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 a metal trigger guard with a silver-colored metal trigger inside. The two-stage trigger is adjustable for second stage weight, trigger blade angle, and first stage travel. Above the trigger guard, on either side of the stock, the Daystate name and emblem are incised into the stock. Ahead of the trigger assembly is an allen screw for holding the action in the stock, and just ahead of that is an air gauge that reads in bar.
Moving toward the muzzle again, the forestock is checkered on either side. 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. Above the air reservoir is the matte black finished barrel which is shrouded to reduce the report of the XL. 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 silver-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 Classic XL shoots.
Til then, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott