I’ve been seeing some pretty cool optics come out recently that are integrating technology into their functions.

Most recently, I picked up the MTC Rapier Rangefinder. I first noticed this little rangefinder at Shot Show 2018 and was immediately impressed at how much more it did than just tell me the range alone. This little gadget uses your smart phone or watch to calculate the ballistics of your rifle and then shows you and tells you exactly where to place your shot. Yup, it actually talks to you through either through your device or via an included bluetooth earpiece! It gave me a laugh the first time I heard it because it’s been programmed to talk to you with a British accent! It does require some initial setup information from you in order to provide you with the most accurate feedback. But, that little time spent in the beginning will take away any guess work out in the field.

Calculating ballistics is one thing but, this little rangefinder does even more. It also takes into consideration the angle your shooting at. That alone can mean the difference between a hit and a miss. “But wait, there’s more!” If you’re in an area with internet connection, you can download the local weather in your area and it will compute that into your ballistics as well. “But wait, there’s more!” There’s also a place for the shooter to enter the local wind data so that it can compute that into the ballistics of your shot as well!

The Rapier Rangefinder provides 4 pre-sets that are set up by the shooter a “custom tailored” fit to each of their rifle/scope combinations. I say custom tailored because ballistic coefficient, zero distance, velocity, scope height, twist rate, bullet weight, caliber, and length are all taken into consideration.
So, you might be wondering if it works with any scope. Yes! It asks you a couple of questions during setup in order to work with whatever scope your using. Is it First or Second focal plane and at what magnification is the scope at “true mil-dot.” Once this is entered, the main screen will then allow you to set and change your scope magnification very easily.

You can also choose what it tells you after you hit the “FIRE” button. It will tell you Range, plus any combination of the following – Angle, Drop, and Drift. Are you an MOA user? Or, maybe you prefer to “click in” to take your shot? No problem! Just set it to what you like… mil, MOA, 0.1-0.2 mil clicks, 1/8,1/4,1/2 MOA clicks, or bullet drop in inches or centimeters, and it will tell you what you want to know and how you want to hear it.
You do need a smart phone or watch in order to utilize all this information. But, even without one of these, the rangefinder will still work as a standard rangefinder. Through the eyepiece, you’ll see the changeable reticle, distance in yards or meters, angle with up or down indication, battery level, and whether vibration mode is on or off.

I searched around to see if there was anything else like this available. There is, but there’s only about 2 others to choose from (that I found) and you’d have to spend double or even triple the price in order to get one of them. Another product you might compare this to is the ATN X-sight scope. It has a lot of the same features built directly into the scope itself. Here’s why I like the rangefinder platform better. I own multiple rifles and I can easily use it with them without having to go through the process of un-mounting or mounting anything at all. That means I also don’t have to re-sight in. Being a rangefinder that will work with any scope, I can use whatever scope I want to look through and not be forced to use something that I might not like as much. Then, there’s the weight. The Rapier is 6.2oz in your pocket whereas the ATN scope is 2.5LBS on top of your rifle. Cost is always a concern as well. The MTC Rapier is the lowest priced of anything I found that compares to it making this little “piece of kit” (as the brits say) hard to beat!

I put together a youtube video about this little gem! If you’d like to see and hear it working, follow the link and check it out!

Happy Shooting!

Tom Adams

With the last blog I gave the five-cent tour of the Daystate Renegade .22 and it is a striking PCP bullpup airgun that worked flawlessly.  In this segment I’ll let you in on how it performed with me behind the trigger.

Close up of the well designed Renegade bullpup stock

As far as first impressions when shooting this model, I liked the slightly tacky feel of the stock.  I’m not sure of the thinking behind it, but the forearm is made of a hard polymer, which is slicker, but the recesses on either side allow for a firm grip.  Being able to adjust the cheekpiece as well as the buttpad was very beneficial as well and makes all the difference when setting the gun up for your chosen optic.  The AR style pistol grip was very familiar and made activation/deactivation of the manual safety very easy and convenient.

As covered in the previous installment, the Renegade is equipped with a hybrid trigger that is both mechanical and electronic and it was sweet.  It averaged a pull weight of 1 pound, 5.4 ounces and was incredibly smooth, positive and predictable.  At that pull weight I did not mess with it as I found it to be just right.

I paired the Renegade with a Sun Optics USA 5-30x56mm scope which added 30 ounces to the already substantial 8 pounds of the Renegade, but it was worth it.  The 30mm tube required large rings so I had to utilize an adapter on the dovetail rail that added height which actually worked to my advantage.  The Sun Optics scope was clear as a bell with using a glass etched micro mil-dot red/green illuminated reticle.  Low profile turrets provide 1/8 moa adjustability and there is a parallax side wheel adjustable down to 10 yards.  This nitrogen-filled scope retails around the $450 range.

Renegade .22 with 5-30x56mm Sun Optics scope

As for shooting, the rotary magazine is easy to load, even with fat fingers like mine.  There is a provision for reversing the magazine so it can be loaded from the right.  It slides easily into position and a strong rare earth magnet draws the magazine into perfect alignment with the bore.  Additionally, the Renegade comes with a single pellet loading tray, also embedded with rare earth magnets to hold it in perfect alignment.  I set up targets at 25 yards and filled to 2000 psi after every 5 shots.  Shooting several different weights of lead and alloy pellets of different brands let me know that this bullpup preferred medium weight lead pellets and the brand that came out on top for me were the RWS Superdomes at 14.5 grains – 5 shots touching but stringing horizontally; still able to be covered by a quarter.  Next best were H&N Baracuda Hunters at 18.21 grains – again, 5 shots able to be covered by a quarter.  I’m sure better accuracy could be wrung out of this bullpup with more practice time.  It did not like 9.9 grain RWS Hypermax pellets as I could not get them to group well.   Even though I was not using a full complement of air (only 2000 psi), the pellets it liked were still chronographing at 825 to 869 fps providing for up to 28+ foot pounds of energy.

I can confirm that the new Daystate models are coming with a 5 year transferable warranty now and the Renegades now rolling off the assembly line also have a laser built into the forearm and there is a Huma regulated version available as well.  www.airgunsofarizona.com not only imports the Daystate lineup, they can fix you up with any accessories you might need from big Daystate compressors to targets and pellets.  For those who like the bullpup configuration, the Renegade should definitely be something you check out.

Owning your own high pressure air compressor can be a big step for an air gunner but, it’s a step towards independence and makes shooting an air rifle much more convenient by taking away the drive time, fuel costs, filling charges, and waiting around for the shop to open… or rushing to get there before they close!

High quality, high pressure air compressors can cost $1000, $2000, and up so, it’s no small feat to get your hands on the money for one. Even when you do get your hands on enough money to buy one, the temptation is there to use that money to buy another rifle, or supply bottle, instead of a compressor.
There are basically two different styles. One is called a “booster compressor” which takes the pressurized air from your home shop compressor and “boosts it” to the higher pressure you need for either your rifle or your supply bottle. The other style is the “stand alone” type, which do the whole process by themselves.
Many of the booster compressors do not come with filters for drying the air they are providing to your rifle. So, you might have to pick up an additional desiccant filter in order to give your rifle high quality, filtered, dry air. Accessories such as this not only bring additional costs but, they can also make the whole process a bit more cluttered by adding more hoses and equipment to your set up. But, for someone on a lower budget, one of these might fit the bill. Also, if you decide on a booster style, you’ll have the added benefit of owning a home shop compressor.
High quality, stand alone compressors such as the Omega Turbo Charger will run a higher price tag. But, they come with some very nice advantages. Oddly, the saying “Less is more” applies to these advantages. You’ll get less equipment, less machines running, less fittings and hoses, less noise, less power being used, and less things that can go wrong over all. They’re usually very compact, about the size of a suitcase, which makes it easier to find a place for them for operating and/or storage. Being stand alone, there’s nothing else to worry about hooking up, maintaining, or storing. Then there’s the noise factor. With a stand alone unit, you only have one machine running that’s about as loud as a washing machine. As I write this, my Omega Turbo is happily humming along, filling my supply bottle in another room. On the other hand, a booster compressor will have two machines running, the booster itself and a home shop compressor. I can tell you that any home shop compressor I’ve ever owned has been VERY loud and is certainly not something you want to be around when it’s running! Another big benefit to the Omega compressors is the moisture purge system which periodically purges moisture out the back of the machine before it gets to your rifle or storage bottle, without the use of a separate desiccant system.

Regardless of what style of compressor you’re looking at, they should all have some kind of safety feature built in. Either in the form of a pressure based automatic shutoff system, an over-pressure burst disc, or a redundant system that has both. Having the peace of mind in knowing that your bottle will not be overfilled is a MUST!
Personally, I like the stand alone units. I’ve had a booster compressor in the past and the one that I had made my shop compressor run very hard. In fact, it ended up breaking the shop compressor and I had to go out and buy a new one with a higher output. With a stand alone unit, I only have to worry about one machine. With proper maintenance, I should be able to fill my bottles “trouble free” for a very long time. Even if something does go wrong, it’s only one machine to worry about, diagnose, and fix.

Here’s a timely tip!!!

As I mentioned above, the cost of a stand alone unit can be significant and can leave quite a dent in a shooters budget. As of writing this article, it’s late-February and that means “tax season” is upon us! If you’re one of the lucky people that is expecting a tax return, and doesn’t have it ear-marked for anything yet, this might be a great opportunity to achieve “high pressure air INDEPENDENCE!”

Tom Adams

Daystate is pretty much a household name in Great Britain and has an excellent reputation on this side of the pond as well.  Based on my initial impressions of the Renegade, it is easy to see why.

My loaner was the .22 caliber synthetic stocked model in the green color.  It is also available in .177 and .25 calibers and in a black synthetic stock.  Setup for a right-hander, I understand they can be ordered for left-handed shooters.  The barrel is 17 inches with an overall length of 30 inches.  A little on the heavy side for a synthetic stocked bullpup at almost 8 pounds, but you can’t deny it is solidly built.  The buttpad is adjustable vertically, as well as for cant, by use of a metric hex wrench.  The onboard cylinder volume is 300cc and the max fill pressure is rated at 230 bar (3300 psi).  It comes with one 10 round rotary magazine and in a hard plastic carrying case with a dense foam interior that is fitted with a little “headroom” for an optic if it is not too large.

Daystate Renegade showing 10 round magazine

The synthetic stock has a rubber feel to it which is very nice and should be impervious to just about anything.  Inlet into the stock on both sides are contrasting black plastic chevron-looking “swooshes” that give a little flair.  The buttpad is a hard rubber and not sticky as some of the buttpads coming on air rifles today.  At the bottom of the stock is a hard plastic, hollow pistol grip that is stippled to give a non-slip grip.  At the bottom of the grip is an access door that flips open to allow for storage of hex wrenches, extra batteries or whatever.  The stock is actually a two piece affair with the fore-end being a synthetic “shroud” that covers the air reservoir and also provides a recessed area for gripping with the support hand as well as a 3 inch section of picatinny rail for mounting a bipod or other attachment.  At the tip of the fore-end is a large threaded aluminum cap that protects the male foster fitting.  The fully shrouded barrel has a threaded end cap for additional sound moderation, although it really isn’t necessary as this .22 Renegade was very quiet.  Atop the barrel shroud sits a stylish rail with 11mm dovetail grooves for mounting optics and a built in bubble level.  Additionally, there is a curved polymer cheek rest that is adjustable forward and back.

The heart and soul of the operation is the hybrid trigger.  The actual trigger is a smooth-faced metal job and very substantial looking with a cross-bolt safety button located directly to the rear of the trigger.  Adjustable for first and second stage travel and pull weight via access holes in the trigger guard it is Daystate’s new hybrid trigger system.  Those familiar with bullpup configurations know they have suffered from stiff, gritty triggers due to the nature of the trigger being well in front of the action/breech and the complicated linkages involved in tripping the sear.  In their Pulsar line of bullpups, Daystate used a fully computerized electronic trigger.  With the Renegade, they combined the mechanical Harper Slingshot Hammer system as used in the Wolverine model plus electronics that transfer the trigger’s movement via a wire to a small solenoid.  Dubbed the Hybrid Trigger Unit (HTU), it instantaneously releases the sear with the press of the trigger, which can be set to a hair-trigger pull if desired. The system is powered by one 9-volt battery which requires the stock to be removed in order to replace it.

Built for the U.S. market and not restricted to the British 12 foot pound limit on energy output, this particular rifle is considered a Magnum 22 capable of an output of 34 foot pounds.  There is also a high power version with a longer barrel capable of up to 50 fpe.

A 3 year warranty came with this loaner gun; however I understand that all of the new Daystates now come with a 5 year warranty.  Will have to check that out and report back in Part II.  The current price on the www.airgunsofarizona.com website is: $1559.00.  The HP version goes for a hundred dollars more.


Please Note:  I need to make a correction to last month’s blog regarding things seen at the SHOT Show.  I mentioned Gamo’s introduction of their TC35 and TC45 big bores.  I noted they would come to the market in the $500 range.  I was only off by half.  These big bore PCPs will retail at $999 each.  Sorry for any confusion I may have caused.

Is it a way to relax or, maybe a way to get excited? Do you shoot for pest control? Is it an avenue for experimentation in the quest for the “perfect shot” or the “perfect card” in competition? Do you shoot for the pure joy of plinking? For some, it’s a way for families to come together and enjoy their time with each other. A way for parents and children to connect.
For a lot of us, the draw to air gunning is the fact that they can be so quiet and so accurate, while not being as loud or deadly as a firearm.
For this writer, airguns started out as a way to continue shooting and learn about how to shoot without shooting firearms. When the ammo crunch started to hit, it was very nice to have already been established in airguns and be able to go and fulfill that desire to shoot a rifle and not struggle to find ammunition or struggle to pay for that ammunition. Since then, it has quickly turned into my primary shooting passion. It is no longer necessary for me to go down to a public range and hope there’s a bench available in order to shoot. Or, sit down next to someone testing out their new “hand cannon,” that’s loud enough to hear a mile away, while blasting me with concussion wave after concussion wave. Today, my firearms are neglected because I enjoy shooting airguns so much.
The lower power of airguns, compared to firearms, allows them to be shot in many backyards safely, using a proper backstop. Some shooters can actually shoot an air rifle inside their own home or garage, which is especially nice this time of year because you don’t have to battle the elements or wait until the weather is nice to shoot. Even with a very short range, a shooter can perfect their shooting skills such as trigger control, breathing, head positioning and more from the comfort of their own home.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws to air gunning is that they can legally have a moderator (LDC) added on to the barrel to make them quiet. Extremely quiet! In fact, an airgun can be so quiet that you can quite literally shoot all day and not disturb any of your neighbors. At my home range, there have been numerous times when deer actually walk up to my targets to see why their making noise!
I can recall one summer day, a few years ago, when I was shooting off my back deck out to 100 or 125 yards in the open field behind my house. It was just me, my rifle, my supply bottle, and a tin of pellets. The wind was calm, it was warm out, and the sun was shining. I sat there for what seemed like a long time and shot at my target over and over. During the course of my shooting session, the world around me seemed to quietly fade away. I was comfortable, calm, and very focused on my target. I began to push my limits. Instead of aiming at the target, I started aiming at the “T” post it was mounted on. Sometimes I’d hit… sometimes I’d miss. I moved my shots out even further. At that point, it wasn’t so much about hitting the target or creating small groups. For me, it was more about the calming effect of sitting there shooting in peace and quiet, and the tranquil state of mind it had put me in. When I finally got up to put things away, I had a feeling like I had just got back from a great relaxing vacation. The extremely low noise level of my airgun played a big part in allowing me to reach that point of contentment.
For me, air gunning is all those things I mentioned above. Relaxing, exciting, competitive, useful, safe, and most of all… great fun! How about you?

Happy Shooting,
Tom Adams

A tiny view of the SHOT Show floor

Man, 2018 already…at least one of the best things about that is the SHOT Show rolled around again!  This marked the 40th year of the show and it was another banner Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trades event.  Sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, it is the largest trade show held at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas.  Some fears about the show being negatively affected by the recent tragedy there were not realized it came off without a hitch so allow me to share some of the things coming to stores and the www.airgunsofarizona.com website later this year.

Of note at this year’s show was the plethora of HPA air compressors from all of the big name companies.  A complaint from shooters that have shown an interest in pre-charged pneumatic airguns is the high cost of getting into that realm of the sport.  This year’s offerings of compressors (and low cost hand pumps) is taking a little of the air out of that argument (pun intended).  Naturally, some smaller, lower priced compressors may take longer to fill a cylinder or need to be run in shorter intervals due to heating concerns, but are a welcome addition.  Retail prices ranged from around $500 to the $1000 dollar mark.

Speaking  of costs to get into PCP airgunning, all of the major manufacturers also rose to meet that objection and have models that allow the first time buyer to get into the sport for as little as 199 bucks.  Watch for future blogs as some of these models become available for testing and evaluation.  Of course, an air source will still add to the startup costs, but HPA hand pumps are now breaking below the $100 mark as well.

Big bores were still alive and well with Umarex unleashing the .50 caliber Hammer this year after some modifications that delayed its coming to the market last year.

Umarex released the .50 Hammer

Developing 700 foot pounds of energy, the Hammer is touted as the “most powerful production airgun in the world”.  I had a chance to fire it last week and it packs a bit of recoil when launching the heavy slugs.  Gamo also stepped into the big bore arena this year with two models, the TC35 in .35 caliber and the TC45 in .45 caliber.  Both are all black guns with tactical looks and will retail in the $500 range.

Airforce Airguns big announcement for the show was their merger with Rapid Air Weapons.  The merger will allow RAW access to Airforce’s large, modern manufacturing facility and reduce delivery backlogs on orders.  As an added bonus, Airforce gained rights to Theoben designs and has plans to reintroduce them to the market.

Many readers of this blog may only shoot pellets, but an interesting accessory announced by Air Venturi is their new frangible BB.  It contains some steel in its composition so it will work in guns with magnetic feed systems, but disintegrates on impact.  These frangible BBs are lighter so produce higher speeds than all steel BBs.  They should become available in the second quarter of the year.

As usual, there were many more things to see at SHOT, which showcased many new and innovative creations and bodes well for the future of our little hobby — as long as we all do our part to encourage young people into the shooting sports.  Rest assured, as I can get my hot little hands on some of these new items, I will get that info out by way of these blogs.

What an exciting time to be an air gunner! I have watched, throughout the past 10 years or so, an explosion of products and popularity. We are seeing companies do amazing things. Accuracy has gone up, and they are bringing us new and exciting concepts that they have not been able to do effectively in the past. I’m not necessarily talking about any one specific thing here or one specific brand.

Regulators are performing better, triggers are getting better, and we are seeing adjustable triggers on more models. The consumers are demanding a higher standard of quality, the manufacturers are listening, and we are getting it! They’re bringing us products that are doing the job that we, as shooters, want them to do. We are also asking these companies to provide products that are going to perform at a higher level than days past and maintain a low price tag. Affordable accuracy. Affordable hunting rifle. Affordable joy of shooting!

Air rifles are not under the microscope like firearms are. They are generally not held in the same regard either. It’s difficult for the uneducated general public to look at a pellet gun and see anything but a Red Ryder bb gun. Therefore, how can it be accurate? How can it have the power to take game animals? Each year, around Christmas time, there’s a reminder of how ineffective air guns are when “The Christmas Story” comes on… “Don’t shoot your eye out kid!” The modern day air rifle enthusiast knows that even an entry level air rifle is capable of incredible accuracy and power compared to that iconic lever action rifle.

What’s the next step in air gunning? I couldn’t tell you. It’s spreading out in so many areas. Affordability and accuracy is one area that is being advanced. And, its benefiting the people that may have a lower budget. The “professional” airguns are being pushed forward too. You know, the “big rigs”, the “dream guns”, the ones you see at competitions. They are getting more accurate, more user friendly, more adjustability, more fine tuning, more end user customization. The creativity coming from manufacturers is pretty neat too. They are coming out with different power sources, creating rifles that can do different things, different styles and looks to the rifles, adding features that were previously unexplored. They’re going out on a limb and are constantly trying out new concepts. Then, there’s the big bores! This is another forefront of the industry. These are the rifles that are defeating the perception that air rifles are not powerful enough, or accurate enough, to take large game responsibly. There’s a lot of similarities between big bores and black powder rifles, which are more widely accepted as “true hunting weapons”. But, the big bore guys are breaking new ground every year and showing that they are perfectly capable of keeping up with those traditional black powder guns. And, I think this is an exciting area of air gunning to watch grow from year to year.

It’s truly an exciting time to be in the air gunning world and have so many choices that are out now and coming out in the future that really have these amazing capabilities. The past few years, especially, have been full of new and exciting designs coming out to the consumer that shooters are having a lot of fun with and enjoying. It seems to only be getting better and better and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018!

I hope you all have a safe and happy 2018.

Happy New Year!

Tom Adams

I introduced you to the new Hatsan Barrage in .22 last month and am following up with observations on how it performed on the range.  As far as functioning, there were no misfeeds or problems as long as the pressure in the reservoir doesn’t drop below the threshold where the semi-auto action cannot cycle (below 100 bar).  I did find the trigger pull gritty at first but this has eased a little as the gun became more broken in.  The trigger pull remained around the 7 pound point even after additional break in of the rifle. A wider trigger blade would have made the rifle a bit more pleasurable to shoot over longer sessions.  If there is any adjustability to the trigger pull, it is not spelled out in the manual and would require removal of the action from the stock and I did not go there.

The Sun Optics CQB Tactical scope I paired with the Barrage worked beautifully on this semi-auto pellet launcher as well as giving the overall package an AR type of look.  The multi-adjustable ambidextrous stock made repeatable shoulder and cheekwelds easy and afforded quick, accurate placement of shots when firing this rapid fire rifle.

I ran several different pellet shapes and weights through the Barrage at 20 yards, all with excellent results.  The favorite load was the H&N Coppa-Spitzkugel, a pointed copper clad pellet weighing 16.4 grains.  The results were a hole that could be covered with a quarter with 8 of 10 shots touching each other.  Its second favorite load was the H&N Baracuda Hunter, a domed hollow-point pellet weighting 18.21 grains. The 10 shot group fell within 1 1/16 inch at its widest point.  As for average velocities with these two pellets using 2000 psi average reservoir pressure for each series, the Coppa-Spitzkugel averaged 872.2 fps with an extreme spread of 9.95 and the Baracuda Hunter averaged 841.8 fps with an extreme spread of 13.40.

Being a PCP the semi-auto action is not impacted by rapid firing like you would experience with a CO2 powered airgun as the propellant does not have to convert from a liquid state first.  Velocities remained relatively constant in rapid fire sessions.  This translates to a bunch of lead flying downrange quickly, increasing the fun factor as you watch dirt fly and targets fall.  I noted a variance in the tensioning of the transparent magazine covers so some user adjustment may be necessary with the 3 mags included with the Barrage to avoid feeding malfunctions.

The retail price appears to have dropped a bit from the $1299.99 I reported in my last blog. Please check with our friends at www.airgunsofarizona.com to get specific pricing info.  Hatsan has become serious contender in today’s PCP airgun marketplace and the feedback I hear about their technical support is that it is top notch as well.  If you are a serious airgun hunter and would like the ability to have quick follow up shots on your quarry, the Hatsan Barrage would be a formidable addition to your gun cabinet.

We live in a great time for airgun enthusiasts.  Regulatory oversight in the U.S. is relatively minimal and manufacturers are constantly working on “the next big thing” in attempting to capture the elusive interest of the consuming public.  This is true for Pre-Charged Pneumatic airguns as well and up to now PCPs generally have been single shot or magazine fed bolt actions.  I’d like to introduce you to a new semi-auto: the Barrage, a Turkish made 12-shot repeater in .22 caliber or 14-shot in .177, from Hatsan USA.

The Barrage has a non-removable 500CC under-barrel reservoir that can be pressurized to 3000 psi and drive a 19+ grain lead pellet at more than 900 fps out of its 19.7 inch precision rifled steel barrel.  That equates to approximately 30-plus foot pounds of energy; plenty for taking small game and eradicating pests as long as that is legal where you live.  Be certain to be familiar with all local laws and game regulations!  At $1300 retail, it would be a shame if authorities show up to confiscate your air rifle because of an infraction.

Side fills via a male probe

Having the large reservoir provides the shooter/hunter plenty of full power shots without having to carry a supply of air when going out for a fun afternoon.  A small pressure gauge reading in bar units is built into the curved foregrip of the forearm and is deeply inset.  It is well protected, but a little difficult for old eyes to use.  The reservoir is filled by a male probe inserted into the fill hole on the right side of the receiver.  Some HPA (High Pressure Air) that drives the pellet is bled off near the muzzle to cycle the action, similar to a gas impingement firearm.  The bolt handle reciprocates upon firing and the bolt is held back after the last round by a block in the magazine.  The fully shrouded barrel utilizes Hatsan’s “Quiet Energy” technology to reduce the sound signature from a sharp crack to a popping noise.  Keep in mind the HPA coming out as the pellet exits is still going to make some noise so hearing protection is a good idea and eye protection is a must as with any projectile launcher.

Multi-adjustable stock with magazine holder

The Barrage is a fun air rifle that doubles as a serious hunting/training tool.  At over 40 inches in length and 10.1 pounds, it is a bit of a beast, but balances in the hands well.  The Barrage incorporates modern styling in a black, advanced polymer ambidextrous thumbhole stock.  The ambidextrous stock has adjustability features such as an extendable buttpad for length of pull and can also be set for elevation and fit angle for the optimal shouldering of the air rifle.  Another is the adjustable comb to provide the best alignment of your eye with you chosen optic.  Hatsan even incorporated storage insets for 2 of the 3 included magazines.  There is a bullpup version – The Bullmaster – with dimensions closer to the AR platform (30.9 inches) and utilizing the same length barrel, which could be useful as a training tool and allow practice with pellets costing pennies versus .223 ammo.  A removable front sight and rear sight that mounts to the picatinny-style rail are included; both with Truglo fiber optics.  The picatinny-style rail is milled into the black anodized aluminum receiver and accepts both 11mm and 22mm bases.  The forearm sports a 3 inch picatinny bottom rail for mounting a bi-pod, light or other accessory and also incorporates the front sling swivel.  I mounted a compact Sun Optics CQB Tactical Precision Prismatic sight with illuminated reticle for my testing.  If you choose to mount a traditional rifle scope, additional clearance is needed for the rotary magazine.  The trigger guard is amply sized and the smooth-faced metal trigger is comfortable.  The trigger is not adjustable and smoothly broke at an average of 6 pounds 15 ounces with about ¼ inch travel before engagement.  The safety lever sits in front of the trigger and is pushed away from the trigger when ready to fire.  I found it a bit short and its shape was not conducive to easy manipulation.  My 2 cents: I’d like to see Hatsan revamp this manual safety.

The Barrage comes in a hard plastic foam lined case and Hatsan USA warranties it for 1 year.  More details on how the Barrage did at the range in the next installment.  In the interim, you can reach out to the knowledgeable folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com for more info or to get your hands on one of these powerhouses.

Barrage rail with tactical style sight mounted

Years ago, two brilliant minds came together and invented a barrel technology. They worked out the finer details and put into production a design that became known as Smooth Twist, after the method and style of the finished product. The process involves precision steel tubing, cut and machined to extremely high tolerances and is then put through a proprietary process which imparts twist to the inside of the barrel from the outside without cutting, harming or disturbing the smooth finish of the bore. This technology spins and stabilizes the pellets when fired, but does not cut or harm the pellet, making it less susceptible to wind turbulence. And, like anything new in the gun world, it was received with much resistance and nah-saying by the industry and shooting public alike. But then something started happening to change those opinions…the barrels started winning long range competitions!

Rumors, theories, and conjecture lost their way when the results started recording, and FX Smooth Twist barreled rifles started to take top seats every year at Extreme Benchrest for the 75 and 100 yard competitions.

2017 was no exception, in fact FX upped their game on proving their barrel tech has what it takes. 29 shooters in the top 20 of both classes (40 total between Pro and Sportsman) placed using a Smooth Twist barrel in an FX air rifle! That’s nearly 75%! Check out these results:

Looking at this chart you immediately think, “Yeah, but almost everyone shot with an FX, so of course FX won out!” Good observation. But take a step back and look at the overall qualifying results to see the spread of shooters who competed to make the finals and you see that FX consistently rose to the top.

Now, let’s pause and give a hand to every single shooter at EBR.  They all did well in competing in this difficult competition and the shooters who came out on top deserve the bulk of the recognition. The rifle is simply the tool of choice, but a good shooter will choose the best tool by their own standards, and the results show where each competitor put their trust.

Back to the FX product now, and they deserve a good deal of respect. The 2017 results are amazing, but they aren’t simply an anomaly. The 2016, 2015, 2014, etc results show FX, with their Smooth Twist barrel technology, are onto something good!

Are they the best for long range accuracy? That is up to you to decide, because nobody can tell you what is “the best”. Grab an FX Airgun with a Smooth Twist barrel and find out for yourself! This writer can say, with experience, that FX/Smooth Twist barrels are among the most consistent shooting rifles/barrels he has tested.


Until next time,

Get Out and Shoot!


Here’s a little video illustrating the Smooth Twist barrel technology: