To get the Daystate Huntsman Classic XL ready to shoot, remove the cap at the end of the air reservoir, attach a high pressure pump or SCUBA tank, and charge the reservoir up to 230 BAR maximum.
To remove the 10-shot magazine from the breech, first apply the safety catch. Next, lift the bolt handle at the rear of the breech block and pull it all the way back until fully cocked. Next move the bolt forward just a little bit until you feel a click. Now the magazine can be removed. (If you attempt to remove the magazine before you feel the click, it won’t work.)
There is a lot to like about the Huntsman Classic, but one of the things that I particularly like is the 10-shot rotary magazine. It is, hands down, the easiest to load magazine currently available. There is no twisting of top plates, no dropping in pellets to lock the top plate in place, no clicking your heels and saying “there’s no place like home.”
Instead, all you have to do is drop a pellet head-first into the large hole at the bottom of the backside of the magazine. You have to make sure that the pellet head slips past the o-ring that circles the perimeter of the pellet ring, and sometimes I use the tip of a ballpoint pen to give the pellet a quick poke to do that. Next rotate the pellet ring counter-clockwise to bring the next empty bay in line with the loading port and drop in another pellet. Frankly, it takes longer to describe the procedure than to do it. Continue this one click at a time until all 10 pellets has been loaded. When the magazine is full, slide it back into position in the breech block and return the bolt forward to the closed and locked position. Now you’re good to go.
Take aim at the target, flick the safety off, and start to squeeze the trigger. On the sample that I tested, the first stage required only 9.6 ounces of pressure. At about 1 pound 4.4 ounces, the shot goes off.
The Huntsman Classic XL launches JSB .177 Heavy 10.3 grain pellets at an average of 904 fps, making average energy 18.77 foot pounds. In addition, because of the extra large (that’s what the XL stands for) air reservoir, it delivers over 55 shots on a fill (see the curve below.) Peak velocity is 918 fps, for 19.35 foot pounds of energy.
The XL produces a surprisingly subdued report. It is by no means completely silent, but it is not nearly as loud as I expected. There is some shrouding in the barrel, which helps to quiet the XL, but the main reason for the relatively quiet report is the Steve Harper designed “slingshot” valve. This patented valve design eliminates the hammer bounce that plagues so many other pre-charged, CO2, and multi-stroke air rifles and air pistols that store gas under pressure and employ a knock-open valve.
Here’s how hammer bounce happens. When the airgunner triggers the shot, the hammer hits the valve and knocks it open. The very next thing that happens is that the compressed gas inside the reservoir acts like a spring and pushes the valve shut, often with enough force to drive the hammer back off the valve. The hammer then slams back down on the valve and pops the valve open again. When this happens, the gun wastes air (or CO2) and makes a louder report than necessary. Even worse, hammer bounce does absolutely nothing useful, since the pellet has already left the barrel when the hammer bounce occurs.
Because Harper slingshot valve prevents hammer bounce, it produces performance comparable to a computerized Daystate air rifle – including efficient use of air, a very high number of shots per charge, a flat power curve, an ultra-fast firing cycle and a relatively quiet muzzle discharge. As effective as the slingshot system is, it’s also remarkably simple and, therefore is backed by a three-year warranty.
The Huntsman delivers the kind of accuracy that I have come to expect from Daystate air rifles. At 30 yards, under far less than ideal conditions, the XL put five shots into a group you could easily cover with a dime. I expect that, under ideal conditions, it will deliver similar sized groups at 50 yards.
The Daystate Huntsman Classic XL has just about everything any serious airgunner would want: excellent accuracy, high efficiency, a very nice trigger, and a reasonable report . . . and those good looks don’t hurt either. Who wouldn’t be pleased with an air rifle like that?
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott