I first saw this interesting new air rifle at the annual IWA exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany, in 2017. Then it was called the Nova Vista HP-M1000. It impressed me as one of the two most innovative airguns introduced at that show. The other was the FX Crown!
Below, that’s Mr Zhu, the designer of the Nova Freedom, showing me “his baby” at that show.
Now this multi-pump PCP air rifle is available in the USA. It’s being imported by the distributor American Tactical and you can buy it from Airguns of Arizona. Its name is the Nova Freedom.
Firstly An Overview.
Of course, the idea of a PCP air rifle with a built-in hand pump is not new. Other air rifles have been produced in the past with a similar basic benefit – not needing to carry a separate tank or pump with you to refill your PCP air rifle in the field. The FX Independence springs to mind, of course.
However, the American Tactical Nova Freedom is a new model with some distinctly different engineering and it’s selling for just $379.95. Both .22 cal and .177 caliber models are available.
Below a Leapers Bugbuster scope is a good match for the Nova Freedom.
The manufacturer is claiming some pretty impressive specifications for this air rifle. Apart from the built-in handpump, the American Tactical Nova Freedom can be filled from a HPA tank. Maximum fill pressure is 3,600 PSI.
There’s an adjustable, two-stage trigger and two power levels settable by a rotating knob.
Pellet feed is via a Marauder-style 10-shot magazine or single shot tray with side lever cocking. And yes, the 10-shot magazine is very similar to that found on the Benjamin Marauder and Umarex Gauntlet. In fact, they’re interchangeable.
Muzzle velocity for the .22 cal version is given as 900 fps or 700 fps – depending on power adjuster setting. In .177 cal, the claim is 1,000 fps or 800 fps.
Before Going Any Further…
Yes, the Nova Vista is inexpensive.
Yes, it’s rather “blocky-looking”.
Yes, it’s not designed or manufactured in Europe.
But don’t knock this one until you have tried it!
It is in fact a very capable all-round air rifle that – I believe – will surprise you with its capabilities.
Real World Shooting.
As supplied, the Nova Freedom is hard-hitting and accurate with mid-weight and above lead pellets.
If you’re hunting, set the gun to High Power and be prepared to pump every 5 or 6 shots. We found it produced 29.7 Ft/Lbs in .22 caliber with JSB Jumbo Exact pellets. That’s 965 FPS, higher than the manufacturer’s claims and very decent power!
Before shooting it, I expected the Nova Freedom to be rather “clunky” and unsatisfactory to shoot – entirely because of the built-in pump. But that’s actually not the case.
In fact, I found it comfortable and very stable to shoot offhand by holding on to the pump handle and bracing my upper arm against my chest, as shown in the photographs. The pump handle can be locked closed to avoid inadvertent operation in this kind of of use.
For target shooting or plinking, Low Power still gives plenty of FPS and a remarkable 20 good shots between pumping.
Pump And Trigger.
The built-in hand pump definitely works!
This means that owners of the American Tactical Nova Freedom can do without the cost and inconvenience of a separate HPA hand pump. In addition, it can be filled from an external tank or HPA hand pump if required, however, if you prefer.
It also means that the user is able to re-fill the Nova Freedom while in the field. This overcomes the inevitable air anxiety (“Do I have enough air?”) that every PCP owner has experienced at one time or another.
The American Tactical Nova Freedom we tested had a trigger pull averaging 2 Lbs 10 Oz.
This trigger is a two-stage design, but the first stage was almost undetectable, feeling more like a little slack on a single-stage trigger. However, the trigger release was quite predictable and consistent. And it can be adjusted…
Adjustments for sear engagement, pull weight and pull length are all accessed from outside the gun using an Allen wrench. The instruction manual supplied with the Nova Freedom gives clear instructions for making trigger adjustments.
If you like this concept, there’s nothing else to touch the Nova Vista in the market at anywhere near the price. The only downside is a slight increase in bulk and weight compared to a conventional PCP.
Try it. I think you’ll be impressed too!
Stephen Archer is the Publisher of Hard Air Magazine.