The Metisse rifle came to market in the summer of 2012, and all of the initial run of product has been sold. Ben Taylor is the brains behind its design.
JE: What sets the Metisse apart of other air rifles?
BT: There are a lot of things that are special about the Metisse – a smooth twist barrel, a miniature version of my regulator, a received machined from a solid billet of aircraft aluminum, and several key components machine out of solid titanium.
But the key thing that sets the Metisse apart from other air rifles is its efficiency. The Metisse delivers 50-60 30-foot-pound shots from a 180cc air reservoir. Most conventional air rifles would require an air reservoir nearly twice that size to deliver that number of shots at 30 foot-pounds.
JE: How do you achieve that?
BT: The secret is in the patented coaxial valve design. It puts everything – the valve, the hammer, the spring – in a straight line behind the pellet. In a conventional precharged pneumatic, the valve is under the barrel, and the air has to go through two right angle bends – rushing down a tube and slamming into a wall and then rushing down a tube and slamming into another wall — in order to reach the pellet. A lot of energy is lost in making those turns, and what the coaxial valve – which is machined out of titanium nitride – does is to get rid of the energy loss.
JE: Was it difficult to develop?
BT: It was very difficult, because nothing is the same as in other airguns. In fact, the very first prototype that we built produced a whopping three foot-pounds of energy! A lot of subtle tweaking was required, but we went almost immediately from three to 30 foot-pounds.
JE: That’s impressive.
BT: We’re very proud of the Metisse. It shows what can be done with an air rifle and sophisticated engineering. I owe a great deal to Andrew Huggett. He took my ideas and turned them into works of art. This is not a mass production gun; it’s more of a tool-room gun. The first run sold out completely, and we’ll be making more next year. We’re keeping the energy at 30 foot-pounds because that’s where the accuracy is.
JE: Is there anything else that readers of the AoA blog ought to know?
BT: Well, I’ll make a prediction. I think other tuners will attempt to tune the Metisse action, and it won’t work. In fact, it will stop working instantly.
JE: Has that happened already?
BT: We had one fellow who called us and said his rifle had stopped working. We asked if he had been messing around inside of it. He said, “No, I only took off the side plate to look at the trigger mechanism.” He sent it to us, and when I looked inside, I found that someone had taken the guts out of the gun and then reassembled it but not in the right order. Everything is balanced inside the Metisse for efficiency. You can’t go mucking about hoping to make things “better,” because, most assuredly you won’t.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott