For this report from the 2019 SHOT Show, we’ll take-in new products from Daystate and Brocock. There’s a lot of them and there’s more too…

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

A star attraction was the the new Brocock Patagonia PCP air rifle. This is a full production version of the Brocock Bantam Sniper HP model that was used to win the 2018 Extreme Benchrest by Claudio Flores. And that’s Claudio in our photograph with “his” air rifle. He certainly looks pleased with it!

Brocock had chosen the 2019 SHOT Show as the platform to launch this interesting new model

Why Patagonia? Well, Claudio’s company is called Patagonia Airguns. And this new airgun carries Claudio’s signature on the shroud, as we can see below

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

The Brocock Patagonia is available in both .22 and .25 calibers. There’s adjustable power levels up to 46 Ft/Lbs in .22 and 55 Ft/Lbs in .25 cal. With a Huma regulator, 460 cc carbon fiber HPA bottle and new 0dB silencer, this is the premier model in the semi-bullpup Brocock Bantam line

Meanwhile, Lauren Parsons shows us both Brocock Commander and Patagonia models

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

… and Tony Belas previews the Bantam Sniper Mini version of Brocock’s versatile Bantam range.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

Another new model seen on the Daystate/Brocock booth at the 2019 SHOT Show was a new version of the Daystate Pulsar. This electronically-controlled bullpup PCP has been equipped with the laminated hardwood colorway first seen on the Daystate Saxon limited edition model form a couple of years ago.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

Greg Glover shows us this to us. Again, the new Daystate 0dB silencer is fitted to further mute this shrouded air rifle’s report.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)
The water cooled Omega TrailCharger also takes an innovative approach to managing the connecting cables, as is visible in this rear view.

Another interesting new product to be seen at the Daystate/Brocock booth at the 2019 SHOT Show was this new Omega Trailcharger HPA compressor. It’s imported into the US by Airguns of Arizona.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

This compressor is can be powered by mains electricity (using the supplied transformer) or from a vehicle 12 Volt DC battery. Unlike most similar portable HPA compressors, however, it’s designed to be able to fill HPA tanks and not just PCP airguns directly. The Street Price will be $799, which is attractive for an HPA compressor of this capability

The water cooled Omega TrailCharger also takes an innovative approach to managing the connecting cables, as is visible in the rear view, above.

New Products From Daystate And Brocock At The 2019 SHOT Show (And More…)

As we can see from the photograph above, the TrailCharger is considerably smaller and lighter than the well-known Omega TurboCharger which sits next to it on the right.

Phew! That’s lots of new stuff. Look for it to become available from Airguns of Arizona in the near future…

Tis the season to discuss all things SHOT – the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Sports trade show held in Las Vegas. A gigantic celebration of all things related to guns of all manner as well as anything else related to hunting and the outdoors lifestyle. This year’s show was another amazing spectacle of what’s in store for the consumer in the coming months.
Highlights include: modestly priced “entry level” PCPs are continuing to enter the market with Beeman bringing out a rotary magazine fed repeater version of their “Chief” model that was introduced last year. Umarex is releasing the Gauntlet in .25 caliber and Diana will offer a PCP version of their vintage military styled Mauser K98 air rifle, which was introduced last year as an underlever cocking design. The SIG Advanced Sport Pellet line, recently re-branded as SIG Air, will have a semi-auto PCP copy of their Virtus firearm. Higher end models include the Crosman semi-auto version of their popular Marauder line and Hatsan USA is introducing a lever action PCP repeater called the Vectis. Brocock America is expanding their Bantam Sniper line and introduced a copy of the rifle that was modified by competitor Claudio Flores, who used it to take top honors at the 2018 Extreme Benchrest competition in Arizona. Airforce Airguns now has Rapid Air Weapons coming off the assembly lines in Texas to begin meeting the demand. The RAW H1000 now sports a carbon fiber shroud and moderator to go with the very sleek laminated wood stocks. While not an “entry level” PCP airgun, after overcoming the issues that have delayed the .50 caliber Umarex Hammer, it will be entering production in their Arkansas plant this quarter.
Multi-shot break-barrel air rifles continue to roll out as well with Benjamin now entering that arena. Gamo showed off their new Swarm Fusion Gen.2 which has literally turned the multi-shot break-barrel world on its side! By laying the rotary magazine horizontally, the platform is more scope and iron sight friendly. Upon breaking the barrel, the Gen.2 pivots the magazine so pellets are in the proper alignment for feeding. It appears to be quite a slick system.
To go along with the K98 Mauser firearm replica mentioned above, Air Venturi has the first replica models coming out from their license deal with Springfield Armory. An M1 carbine .177 caliber BB CO2 repeater will be followed later in the year by the XD(M) CO2 BB pistol. SIG Air launched the pellet firing replica of the U.S. Army’s new sidearm, the M17 in the last half of 2018. For 2019 they followed up with a replica of their very successful P365. Both pistols have blowback action, the “Rapid Pellet Magazine” belt feeding system and are field strippable. Not to be outdone, Umarex is releasing the Ruger 10/22 air rifle. This .177 CO2 powered pellet repeater uses a rotary 10-shot magazine that then fits into a carrier the size and shape of a real 10/22 magazine. This unit then installs into the polymer stock just like on the firearm. I predict this one will be a big seller for Umarex.
A new kid on the block was exhibiting in the temporary area called the “Next” section. Exhibitors here will have a booth on the regular show floor next year. APS Limited is not a new company, having made airsoft and paint marking guns for almost two decades, however, they are new to producing BB and pellet guns. They showed off a nice looking CO2 BB firing replica along the lines of a 9mm striker-fired polymer pistol. Called the “S. Shark”, the twist with this pistol is the “happy switch” on the side that lets the shooter go full auto. Additionally, they showed their RAR, or “Real Action Rifle”, which resembled a high power, bolt action, magazine fed rifle. It uses 5 pre-charged HPA cartridges with .22 caliber pellets loaded into the nose of the cartridge. The metal box magazine holds the 5 cartridges and cycling the bolt feeds and ejects the cartridges.
This was just a taste of the many interesting and exciting things seen at SHOT that are scheduled to arrive in 2019. To keep abreast of the latest news, keep checking back here on the AofA blog.

One of the Daystate displays at 2019 SHOT Show

The 2019 SHOT Show will be with us very soon now. So, before it happens, I’ll take a risk and make some predictions for what I think we may see there…

THE FUTURE FOR PCP AIR RIFLES.

At the 2017 SHOT Show, everyone was talking about the Umarex Gauntlet, a revolutionary $300, magazine-fed, regulated PCP air rifle with a great shot count. The announcement of this gun created a huge buzz among airgunners and airgun companies across the US and beyond.

An Airgun Industry Crystal Ball

What the Umarex Gauntlet established was the $300 price floor for a “good enough” quality, regulated PCP air rifle. During 2017, we saw Gamo, Benjamin and others reducing the prices of their PCPs to get close to that magic $300 number. And at the 2018 SHOT Show, there were more $300 magazine-fed PCPs launched – the Benjamin Fortitude and Hatsan Flash among them. I expect to see more this year.

Furthermore, just about every new $300+ PCP launched since the Gauntlet has been regulated.

Currently, these guns have bolt actions. But semi-autos will become more common in future, I believe. In a few years time, the typical $300 regulated, magazine-fed PCP air rifle will also be semi-automatic. Will that start to happen at the 2019 SHOT Show? We’ll see…

WHAT ABOUT BREAK BARRELS?

As HPA compressors become smaller, lighter and cheaper, the barriers to PCP ownership will clearly be reduced. In fact, I believe that they will cause the traditional, single shot break barrel air rifle – to become an endangered species.

Now I do not think that break barrel, single shot springers (or gas rams) will ever disappear. But I do predict that there will be fewer of them sold in future. Mostly, they will retreat slowly back down to the lowest reaches of the US airgun market at prices of $150 or less. Even there, they will be challenged by multi-shot CO2-powered guns.

I also predict that a few, specialist, break barrel (or underlever) single shot springers will survive at the top end of the market, say $500 and above. But these will be the choice of real enthusiasts and a few diehard traditionalists, those “real men” who want to experience “airguns as they used to be”. Think Weihrauch and SIG SAUER ASP20 (below).

An Airgun Industry Crystal Ball

So I predict the current huge range of springers in the $150 – $300 range will fade away and die out over the next few years. They will be steadily squeezed out by increasingly easy-to-use (and cheap) rapid-firing PCP and CO2 guns.

CO2 STRIKES BACK.

CO2-powered airguns are making a big comeback! Many, many airgunners are falling for the charms of rapid-firing firearms replica airguns. Yes, many of these are BB guns and most of them are pistols.

CO2-powered airguns offer “realism” and they offer rapid fire capability. The SIG SAUER MPX and MCX models are a prime example of this trend. They’re hugely successful because they really look the part, fire semi-auto and do not require expensive HPA charging kit. That’s the MPX below.

An Airgun Industry Crystal Ball

This interest in CO2 power is driven, I believe, by a new type of airgunner. They don’t want single shot, hard-recoiling, hard-cocking, Zillion FPS, tough-to-shoot break barrel springers. They want a different type of shooting experience that’s closer to that of firearms (or airsoft, for that matter), but at a lower cost, with shorter range potential and less noise.

I expect to see more CO2-powered firearms replica airguns appear in 2019.

BIG BORE. BIG OPPORTUNITY?

My real question is: “How big is that big bore airgun market”?

Big bore airguns – .30 caliber and above – have been big news in the past few years.

Of course, big bore air rifles use air at a huge rate. This means that you’ll certainly need your own HPA compressor and a very large intermediate tank. In money terms, a big bore requires a $800+ tank and $1,000+ home compressor. Oh, and add-in a $400+ scope. That total rapidly climbs North of $4,000 for a functioning big bore hunting air rifle.

Walking around the SHOT Show, it’s very clear that $4,000 will buy any one of a large number of superb firearm hunting rifles. They’re more powerful, less complicated and require just a box of cartridges to shoot.

So, my prediction is that very high power – say over 200 Ft/Lbs Muzzle Energy – big bore air rifles will remain a niche market.

I believe the cost/complexity/performance envelope of big bore airguns will remain a rarified “enthusiast only” world with a very limited number of users. Unless you already have a tank and compressor for your smallbore PCPs.

Such very high power big bore airguns will continue to attract attention. But the economics probably favor smaller, specialist manufacturers than the biggest players. Look no further than the Western Big Bore Bushbuck, for example.

An Airgun Industry Crystal Ball

So, there’s my predictions for the future of the airgun market…

Overall I believe that, in the next few years, more people will make more shots, firing faster with airguns. Single-shot airguns will become either very cheap, a specialist’s choice or history. Large volume airgun sales in the future belong to magazine-fed, HPA and CO2 airguns with calibers of about .30 and below. Especially those which look like military firearms.

But there again, I could be wrong. According to my wife, I usually am! What do you think?

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

The SIG ASP20 was one of the most-anticipated air rifles to be introduced in 2018.

I first shot it at the 2018 SHOT Show in January, then again at the formal SIG Press Launch in July 2018. Now the ASP20 is shipping in both .177 and .22 calibers and you can buy yours from Airguns of Arizona, of course!

So, what’s been happening since the July Press Launch?

Well, SIG has been making a few small tweaks and final testing to ensure that their first in-house developed airgun performs as well as the legions of SIG SAUER firearms owners would expect. SIG Air’s Development Manager Ed Schultz confirmed to me that the company has made over 200,000 shots through multiple ASP20 test guns prior to production commencing.

Yes, over two hundred thousand!

Some individual guns have exceeded 10,000 shots each, he said. And all of this durability testing has been done by hand – no testing machines. Wow! It’s a good job that the cocking effort of the ASP20 is lighter than that of most break barrel air rifles at this power level!

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

SIG is currently shipping the wood stock ASP20. Synthetic stock guns will follow, as will scope bundles with the SIG Whiskey3 ASP 4-12 x44 AO scope.

The gun I’ve been shooting is .177 caliber with wood stock and Whiskey3 scope. SIG mounted and sighted-in the Whiskey3 scope before shipment, so it was ready to shoot, straight out of the box.

Immediately you shoulder the ASP20, it’s clear that this is a nicely-balanced air rifle. The center of gravity lies exactly where your forward hand naturally rests to support the stock. The forend is not too wide, just comfortable, too.

The test gun weighed-in at 9 Lbs 10 Oz, including the mounted scope. I’d rate that as pleasantly substantial but not too heavy.

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

The wrist of the stock is nicely-dimensioned. It allowed my trigger finger to engage the blade naturally, with no strain.

Although there’s no adjustable comb to the stock, nor an adjustable buttpad, the cheek weld was immediately pleasant for me. This means that the ASP20 is a new addition to that select group of air rifles – like the Weihrauch HW100 – that feel “just right” as they come from the factory, with no need for the stock adjustments they don’t have.

However, SIG expects to have an adjustable cheekpiece available with the ASP20 synthetic stock model in the forseeable future. Just in case…

Easy, foolproof, trigger adjustment was a design goal for the ASP20. Unusually, the trigger pull weight is adjusted from the rear of the compression tube, using a click-adjustable system. You push in then rotate clockwise to increase the trigger pull weight. Anti-clockwise reduces it.

This adjustment can be made using a Phillips head screwdriver. However, if a scope is mounted, you’ll need to use the special adjustment tool provided by SIG with the gun, as the scope blocks screwdriver access.

As received from the factory, the test gun had a trigger pull weight of 2.5 Lbs. So the trigger is light. It’s also very pleasant to pull. However, there’s not that “glass break” sensation as the sear releases, it’s a softer, slightly more gentle feeling – at least as received from the factory.

SIG gives you some control over the trigger release characteristics, too. Turning the small Allen key supplied with the gun in the setscrew located behind the trigger, allows single stage operation, two stage, or somewhere in between.

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

Another key focus for the SIG design team was easy cocking. The test ASP20 has a cocking effort of right around 32 Lbs – that’s the SIG Glidelite cocking mechanism at work. This is definitely low for a break barrel gun of this power level.

Cocking action is smooth and even. There’s no feeling of jerkiness and no grinding or grating of the lever against the stock in operation. Again. it’s good.

Lockup is very positive and this reassuring solidity is a testament to SIG’s Keystone breech design and the match-drilling of the pivot pin holes.

H&N Field Target Trophy pellets showed-up well for accuracy. A consistent 1035 FPS – plus or minus – showed on the Chrony for these pellets at 63 degrees F. That’s 20.59 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy, slightly exceeding SIG’s claim.

Our test gun also shot well with Baracuda Match and Field Target Trophy Green pellets. As SIG is an OEM customer for H&N pellets, it’s not surprising that these pellets work well in the ASP20.

It’s clear that the SIG Air ASP20 is a capable, powerful and accurate new air rifle!

With the SIG name on it, the ASP20 appeals not only to airgunners, but also firearms shooters. That’s a HUGE potential market and SIG Air is well-placed to benefit from their growing interest in non powder-burning pellet launchers!

The SIG ASP20 - A Great New Breakbarrel Air Rifle

POSTSCRIPT
Serial numbers for the SIG ASP20 all begin with the initials JDH. This unusual prefix is a memorial to Justin Daniel Heckert, one of the gun’s key design engineers. Sadly, Justin died unexpectedly before the ASP20 entered production. Serial number one of the SIG Air ASP20 was presented to Justin’s family as a mark of respect by the company.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

It’s PCP airgun corrosion – this is what moisture does to your air rifle…

It’s widely known – or at least fairly widely – that PCP airgun corrosion is caused by moisture in the air that’s used to fill an air rifle. But what does this PCP airgun corrosion look like and how bad really is the damage?

These photographs show how bad the corrosion actually can be. Look and be warned!

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Above. There’s plenty of corrosion on this Marauder fill adapter. You can also see oxidization build-up on the sintered filter.

Note that our photographs happen to show corrosion in Benjamin and Crosman airguns. That’s because these are examples seen at a Crosman Repair Center. But every PCP airgun – not just Crosman/Benjamin models – suffers from this problem.

You can find PCP airgun corrosion in any make of airgun!

Every time you fill your PCP airgun without a dessicant system of some sort, you are causing this problem. You’re actually pumping water vapor – moisture – into the gun every time you fill it with High Pressure Air.

The result is long-term damage to your gun and an expensive repair bill just waiting for you in the future!

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Above. Here’s corrosion on a Discovery gauge port. It’s even inside the gauge adapter (arrow)…

Over the long-term – say 3 years or more – PCP airgun corrosion will be the number one cause of failure for PCP air rifles.

First, you find that your favorite PCP is starting to loose pressure between uses. Then the pressure loss becomes more rapid. Then, finally, the gun will no longer hold pressure.

If you have been filling with “wet” air – that is air that has not been passed through some sort of moisture-removal system – it’s guaranteed that this problem will be caused by PCP airgun corrosion.

Over the course of time, that water vapor inside your air rifle will cause corrosion.

The problem will be worse if you live in a naturally-humid area. It will be worse still if you live by the ocean – think salt water corrosion now. So if you live in – say – Florida and you’re filling your PCP with a hand pump and no dessicant system, your PCP air rifle WILL suffer from this PCP airgun corrosion!

There’s some evidence that PCPs with higher fill pressures – say 3,000 PSI and above – tend to suffer from this PCP airgun corrosion more than those with lower pressures – say 2,000 PSI. That makes sense, as the onset and progress of PCP airgun corrosion will most likely be worse the higher the pressure.

But what actually happens?

Yes, rusting of the HPA pressure tube is one obvious result. If a pressure tube shows any signs of internal rusting, it should be replaced immediately!

Below we have a view looking down a Marauder pressure tube.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

You see, the O rings inside the gun seem to attract moisture like a magnet. The result is that rust occurs between the O ring and steel tube – usually in a circular pattern, exactly matching the location of the O ring.

I may be a coward, but the prospect of holding a rusty steel tube containing 3,000 PSI of air right next to my face every time I shoot doesn’t sound too clever. DON’T DO IT!

More surprisingly, perhaps, the majority of PCP airgun corrosion happens on Aluminum parts inside the gun, rather than the steel tube itself.

The high pressure moisture-bearing air causes the Aluminum to oxidize into a white substance. This white oxide then builds-up underneath the O ring seals inside the gun. But it doesn’t build up evenly!

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Because the Aluminum oxide builds-up in peaks and troughs, eventually the rubber O rings inside the gun can no longer fill the gaps and leaking starts. It’s downhill all the way from there…

Prevention is better than cure.

The way to prevent – or at least massively reduce – PCP airgun corrosion is to ALWAYS fill your gun with “dry air”.

If you use a hand pump, make sure it is filled with a dessicant system such as this Hill pump has.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Alternatively, if you fill HPA tanks from a compressor, use a dessicant system – such as this Omega inline filter – between the compressor and the tank.

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

Or if you have your air tanks filled by a paintball store or dive shop, make absolutely sure that they are giving you dry air.

PCP airgun corrosion WILL happen to your air rifle unless you always fill it with dry air. Make sure that you only use dry air in your PCP.

Don’t let this happen to you!

New to the Benjamin line up of break-barrel rifles this year is the Vaporizer from Crosman, now part of Velocity Outdoor.  Fitted in an ambidextrous black polymer pistol grip stock, it offers clean lines with grey soft touch stock inserts at various grip points for good purchase and control.  Molded into the stock is a raised cheekpiece and a thick, dense rubber buttpad plus two sling attachment points.  Topping it off is a set of barrel mounted sights with the rear being adjustable, and a picatinny rail for attaching the included Center Point 3-9x40mm AO scope.  Crosman also included their market leading sound suppression SBD/Gold unit to the 15-inch barrel which, as a bonus, gives additional leverage when cocking.  The report was relatively mild, so the SBD was doing a good job.  The Vaporizer weighs 8 pounds 9.5 ounces with the included scope and is 46.5 inches long; balancing well in the hands so the weight is not an issue.

Benjamin’s new Vaporizer

Definitely an adult air rifle, the cocking force on this rifle is stout.  Although it has become easier to cock after an initial break-in period, it can still be a workout for the average adult.  Of course, that strong, proprietary Nitro Piston Elite gas ram you are cocking translates to adult power as well.  My location is above 6000 feet and the average velocity of 14.66 grain pellets was a respectable 700 fps, yielding almost 16-foot pounds of energy.  Plenty of power for pest control or small game hunting at air rifle range.  Crosman rates the Vaporizer as capable of 950fps and 29fpe.

The 2-stage “Clean Break Trigger” was heavy at approximately 6.5 pounds out of the box with a long first stage take-up.  The trigger is adjustable via a small hole in the trigger guard, but even with that, I found I could not adjust it lower than 5 pounds without approaching what I felt was a danger threshold.  It wasn’t a bad trigger, but there is room for improvement on a gun in this price range.  The manual safety is a lever located directly in front of the trigger and it does not automatically engage upon cocking.  Unusual to my thinking in this age of rampant lawsuits, yet the lack of an auto safety engagement will no doubt be lauded by some.

The Center Point scope appears to be of good quality with a clean image from edge-to-edge and the parallax adjustability from 5 yards to infinity via the Adjustable Objective bell.  Elevation and windage adjustment turrets are calibrated in ¼ MOA.  Most shooters should find this included scope adequate for the capabilities of this air rifle.  Accuracy-wise the Vaporizer did well after it settled down from running the first 100 or so pellets.  Taking time out to tighten all screws occasionally is always good practice as well as using Tom Gaylord’s recommended “Artillery Hold” when shooting break-barrels.  At 20 yards the shot groups with H&N and SIG pellets could be covered by a U.S. quarter.

I experienced dieseling for the first 40 or 50 shots before the manufacturing oils/solvents worked their way out.  That is a concern, but Crosman’s new 5-year limited warranty on materials and workmanship should have you covered.  MSRP on the Vaporizer is $259.99 and if you have questions or desire to obtain the Vaporizer or any of Crosman’s other fine products, reach out to our friends at Airguns of Arizona.

On a side note and in the spirit of the season, to help prevent someone from “shooting their eye out” check with AofA regarding new shooting glasses from Howard Leight Shooting Sports.  Named Genesis, these are lightweight, extremely comfortable, and have adjustable temples for ease of fitting the adult face.  You forget you are wearing them – always a plus when out shooting for any length of time – and when coming from the cold outside to a warm room, you still won’t think about them because they won’t fog up!  Their Extreme Anti-Fog treated lenses eliminate that annoying problem.  They also provide 99.9% UV protection and for an MSRP of $18.99, they are a bargain.

Happy Holidays to all and remember:  Don’t Shoot Your Eye Out!!!

Herr Hans Weihrauch Talks About His Company, Weihrauch Sport

In this exclusive interview, Herr Hans Weihrauch – the owner of Weihrauch Sport – talks to Stephen Archer. We met most recently at the 2018 Extreme Benchrest competition in Arizona. Here’s how the conversation went…


Stephen Archer: When did you first start shooting and who taught you to shoot?

Hans Weihrauch: That was quite a long time ago! At about the age of 10-12 years, I started shooting with an air rifle. My father was a member of a shooting club and took me to a German “Schützenhaus”, shooting on a 10 Meter target range. Shooting instructors taught other young guys and myself how to hold the air rifle and to aim at the paper targets.


Stephen Archer: What was your first airgun and do you still own it?

Hans Weihrauch: I started this kind of shooting with a HW 55 match type air rifle. This rifle is still standing in my gun cabinet. I still own it and I am proud of it!

Herr Hans Weihrauch Talks About His Company, Weihrauch Sport


Stephen Archer: What is your favorite type of shooting now?

Hans Weihrauch: I shoot 50 Meter English Match in cal. .22 Long Rifle as well as some Field Target competitions.

I find Field Target shooting very interesting and challenging. Shooting at various distances, in different directions on one lane, in different shooting positions and in a limited time frame is very demanding for every shooter.


Stephen Archer: Please tell us a little history about the Weihrauch company?

Hans Weihrauch: Our family tradition in working in the gun trade started in the late 1890s. In 1899 our great-grandfather founded his first company to produce hunting rifles. Over the following decades the company grew and a lot of different models followed as well as other products like pedals and cranks for bicycles and hydraulic door closers.

In 1939 the first airgun, an air pistol, was introduced, but due to World War II it never got into production. There is at least one prototype still existing. I’ve seen it myself, but unfortunately it’s not owned by us any more.

In the early fifties of the last century the first air rifles HW 50 and HW 35 were launched. A lot of different models have followed over the years!

Herr Hans Weihrauch Talks About His Company, Weihrauch Sport


Stephen Archer: Can you tell us a little about the company today. For example, how many people work at Weihrauch-Sport? How big is your factory? Is everything made in Germany?

Hans Weihrauch: Nowadays our line of air guns offers a wide variety of different models. More than 100 employees produce air pistols and air rifles in a huge number of versions in our premises at Mellrichstadt in Baveria.

All our products are “Made in Germany”. Our major focus is quality and craftsmanship. All manufacturing is undertaken using state-of-the-art machinery. We aim to offer our customers the best possible products!

Below. The Weihrauch factory.

Herr Hans Weihrauch Talks About His Company, Weihrauch Sport


Stephen Archer: Always, the machining and finish of both wood and metal parts is beautiful on Weihrauch airguns! How do you achieve such an outstanding level of craftsmanship?

Hans Weihrauch: Germans have the reputation of being perfectionists. So we happily try to meet our customers expectations! This reflects to all the metal and wooden parts.

The stocks and grips are supplied by outside vendors according to our exact specifications. The metal parts are produced by ourselves in-house. Our workers are proud to produce such products that are well-known all over the world.


Stephen Archer: Does Weihrauch-Sport manufacture the barrels for it’s air rifles?

Hans Weihrauch: Most of our barrels are produced in-house. This gives us constant quality control monitoring on each barrel during the whole production process, right up to final test shooting. In this way we can always guarantee our quality standards on each production step of the barrels.

Herr Hans Weihrauch Talks About His Company, Weihrauch Sport


Stephen Archer: Most Weihrauch air rifles use the spring/piston system. Only the HW90 uses a gas ram. Can you explain why gas rams are not used in more Weihrauch air rifles?

Hans Weihrauch: As always, different systems have advantages but also disadvantages. Our spring piston systems work very well. Nevertheless we are always working and improving our air guns to reach the best possible quality to fit our customer needs. We have a lot of customers who love our spring piston air guns and also our gas ram HW 90 model.


Stephen Archer: Weihrauch manufactures both underlever-cocking and break-barrel spring/piston air rifles. Can you give your opinion on the benefits of each design?

Hans Weihrauch: Yes, we are producing both versions, break barrel and underlever cocking.

For decades the break barrel rifles have been the main product. They are easy to handle and everyone knows how to manage, load and shot, them. This system is ideal for beginners and for “just for fun” – shooting.

We then launched the HW 77. This new design conquered the Field Target Shooting scene and was copied several times. The scope mount and the barrel/receiver components are one unit and built a stable and fixed system. This design is valued more by the serious and experienced shooter.

Herr Hans Weihrauch Talks About His Company, Weihrauch Sport


Stephen Archer: Here at Extreme Benchrest we see almost everyone shooting PCP air rifles. Do you see PCPs as the big future trend for your company, too?

Hans Weihrauch: The EBR event is a special and unique event for shooting taking place in the USA.

The shooting demands are on longer distances and for special disciplines like for example the Extreme Benchrest up to 100 Yards, Extreme Field Target or the Speed Silhouette. There definitely the PCP rifles have their big advantage and will be also the future trend. It is a growing scene and market.

For the “normal” shooter these PCP products are quite expensive, especially with all the necessary charging equipment. He will probably step into the shooting scene on a lower level according to his budget and his aim. And sometimes compressed air isn’t available at all places. Perhaps later he will also join other disciplines.

Therefore we are offering our wide range of air guns in various versions and for different purposes. So nearly everybody can find a suitable product for their needs from Weihrauch.

Herr Hans Weihrauch Talks About His Company, Weihrauch Sport


Stephen Archer: Can we expect to see any new air rifle designs from Weihrauch in 2019?

Hans Weihrauch: We are constantly working to improve the quality of our products. So permanent developments and amendments are implemented into the production process of the different models.

Furthermore we are also thinking on new projects. Just recently our newest PCP air rifle – the HW 110 ST – was launched in a special carbine version.

Herr Hans Weihrauch Talks About His Company, Weihrauch Sport

Also in 2019 you can expect something new from Weihrauch. But… wait and see!


Stephen Archer: Hans, thanks for this great interview! I’m sure this will be of great interest to the huge number of Weihrauch enthusiasts around the world. I look forward to seeing you again next year in Nuremberg for the IWA Show and in Las Vegas for the SHOT Show.

Hans Weihrauch: Steve, I look forward to it!

Accu-Tac has redesigned all of their bipods and will no longer be offering the old style. They’ve also slimmed down their selection to only their best selling models.

A lot of benchrest shooters use the old FC-5 or FC-10 models due to their wide stance. But, they only had the option to pan. If you wanted cant/tilt, you were forced to choose from models with a narrower stance. The newly designed FC-G2 offers BOTH pan and cant! Also, they’ve changed the legs. The older models had longer legs. The new model has shorter legs but, they have the ability to extend.

Their base model, the BR-4, now sports the new legs and the re-designed center hub. Basically, the only thing that remains unchanged is the way the legs attach to the center hub and the way they lock in. When comparing the new to the old, it looks like they reversed the center design. But, they’ve done more than that. The way the cant system locks has been redesigned to a more reliable, easier to use system.

The new system incorporates an easily accessible lever style lock that’s easy to access and easy to use vs the old systems winged thumbscrew. Also, the lever is spring loaded. So, if you don’t like where it’s sitting once locked, give it a “pull and twist” and it will click into another spot.

The quick release thumb nut has been replaced with a hex head screw that sits inside a recess. In order to adjust rail tension, you move the lever to the unlock position, push it, and spin the hex head.

The new legs are wider, thicker, and have the ability to extend vs the old thin style with no adjustment. The feet are much larger too and re-inforced with support cups.

 

When comparing the FC-G2 vs the old FC-10, right away I notice the difference in leg height and thickness. I also notice how the picatinny attachment sits higher when compared to the hinge point of the legs. Overall, I thinking his system is going to work out better than the old tall models.

Another subtle difference I noticed is that the quick release lever no longer conflicts with the hub frame. The old model, you’d have to pan to the side in order to release the lever all the way but, the new one clears the hub without any interference. This is a big deal if you’re a “Set it and forget it” type of shooter.

All of the other upgrades I mentioned above, about the BR-4, also apply to the new FC-G2.

As an added feature, the legs of all Accu-Tac bipods, both old and new, are interchangeable (except the HD-50). Also, the old legs will fit on the new redesigned center hubs and vice versa.

The LR-10 and SR-5 have also been upgraded but, not to the degree that the FC-G2 and BR4 have. The new hub is the same as the BR-4. However, the legs have longer leg extensions with more notches that are closer together.

So, let’s say you want the taller legs on the wide body. For now, the only way to do that is to pick up the FC-G2 and either an LR-10 or an SR-5. For arguments sake, let’s say you picked up an LR-10. You’d actually end up with the ability to have an FC-G2, LR-10, BR-4, and an unavailable model – a tall FC10-G2, due to Accu-Tac’s ability to easily swap legs.

I see these bipods showing up more and more at competitions. They work well, are made in the USA, and are designed to be very strong! I would highly recommend adding them to your collection. The new models will be available soon!

Happy Shooting!

Tom

Springer air rifles can be very accurate and versatile for uses ranging from plinking to hunting.  However, loading pellets singly for each shot can be a bit of a fumble-finger exercise, especially when needing to make a follow-up shot on a wounded animal.  The Turkish company of Hatsan offers their solution as the new SpeedFire Vortex, a multi-shot break-barrel utilizing a 12-shot rotary magazine in .177 caliber. The mechanism used to automatically load a pellet during the cocking cycle is called the EZ-Load Action System.  It sits above the barrel/receiver joint, adding enough extra height to force the use of a high front sight.  The front sight consists of a U-shaped saddle with a bright orange TruGlo fiber optic rod in the center.  When optics are used, or to protect the front sight when it is not in use, it folds down into a protective channel.  The rear sight has green TruGlo fiber optics to help with obtaining a quick sight picture and it is micro adjustable for both windage and elevation.  The SpeedFire also comes equipped with a picatinny rail, which interestingly incorporates an 11mm rail running along the top.  The rail features a dampener technology designed to absorb some of the shock generated by springers, helping to protect optics mounted to the rifle.  Additionally, the SpeedFire ships with an Optima 3-9x40mm scope and rings.

I found the SpeedFire to be a soft shooter for a springer, no doubt partially because of the proprietary SaS, or Shock Absorber System, built into the gun.  However, the cocking force is such that this would not be a rifle for a youngster.  Having twelve pellets at the ready is a great feature but can be a workout when firing all twelve pellets quickly from the Rapid Performance Magazine (RPM).  An automatic safety/anti bear-trap mechanism activates each time you cock the SpeedFire, but unfortunately this multi-shot technology does not protect from double loading pellets if there is an attempt to cock the gun a second time.  If you experience this condition, then you must remove the magazine and gently push both pellets out with a cleaning rod.  The Owner’s Manual does not go into any detail on how to safely remove pellets from the barrel, which would be helpful, since the multi-shot mechanism covers the breech during the cocking cycle in its process of automatically loading a pellet.

Hatsan technologies such as the Quattro adjustable match trigger, Vortex Gas Piston, and SaS are all built in to this rifle.  It also sports some suppression, although it is not the “Quiet Energy” suppression found on other Hatsan guns.  It is lightweight at almost 6 ½ pounds without a scope, but it is a long gun at 47 inches.  Trigger pull out of the box was about 5 ½ pounds and is fully adjustable with the included allen wrenches.  My sample rifle shipped without a scope and I haven’t had it long enough to fully break it in.  It still produced good groups out of the box even though I was using open sights with aged eyes.

Hatsan rates the velocity of the SpeedFire out of its 14.5-inch barrel at 1000fps and it lists at an MSRP of $199.99.  The warranty on the SpeedFire is a one year limited.   It is also available in .22 caliber and if you’d like more information, please contact our friends at Airguns of Arizona.

Let’s Talk Pellets - A Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign .22 Cal Pellet Review

It’s my strong conviction that – even now – people spend too little time thinking about pellets!

Many airgunners I know spend endless time and effort on their air rifle, but more-or-less take the pellets for granted. In fact, there’s much to be gained by a careful choice of pellets, as we’ll read in this post…

They’re Great Value.

Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign 15.9 Grain .22 caliber pellets are manufactured by JSB in the Czech Republic specifically for Daystate.

These dome head pellets have been selected and tested to work reliably in Daystate PCP air rifles without further selection. They are intended for use in high-powered, long range PCPs fitted with Lothar Walther barrels.

As these pellets are used to test guns at the Daystate factory, that would clearly seem to be an strong validation of that claim!

However, as you would expect, they also work well in many other air rifles, too.

Let’s Talk Pellets - A Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign .22 Cal Pellet Review

Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign .22 caliber pellets are priced at $16.95 for a tin of 500. This makes the cost of each pellet 3.4 cents. This is surprisingly cheap and makes these pellets an absolute bargain!

As a heavy domed pellet, these Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign pellets are normally used for hunting and other general shooting. Of course, JSB has an outstanding reputation for producing quality pellets. So – combined with the Daystate name – expectations are high for the Rangemasters.

Detailed Test Results.

We tested these pellets in considerable detail and here’s the results…

Achieving a consistent head size is a major aim for most pellet manufacturers. For the Sovereigns we tested, it was extremely well controlled. No less than 88% of the tested pellets had a head diameter of 5.52 mm, with a very few outliers – only 0.01 mm (that’s less than 4 Thou) smaller or larger – on either side of this as you can see from the chart below.

Let’s Talk Pellets - A Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign .22 Cal Pellet Review

The actual average weight of the pellets we tested was 15.88 Grains. This is within 0.02% of the claimed weight of 15.9 Grains. Very close indeed!

So, the average weight of the Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign 15.9 Grain .22 caliber pellets we tested was very, very close to the claim at 15.88 Grains. However, only 6% of the tested pellets actually weighed 15.90 Grains.

Ten percent of the tested pellets weighed 15.91 Grains. This was the most common weight, as we can see from the chart below.

Let’s Talk Pellets - A Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign .22 Cal Pellet Review

The lightest pellets tested using our “laboratory grade” milligram balance weighed 15.65 Grains. The heaviest 16.07 Grains. That’s a variation of 2.7%.

Twenty percent of the Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign 15.9 Grain .22 caliber pellets we tested measured 7.46 mm in length. The shortest pellets measured 7.41 mm, the longest 7.59 mm, that’s a spread of 2.4%.

Let’s Talk Pellets - A Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign .22 Cal Pellet Review

Such consistency in manufacturing is a major cause of both consistent muzzle velocity and accuracy.

As a  part of this comprehensive pellet-testing procedure, we washed the pellets and weigh the amount of dust that’s an inevitable by-product in the manufacture of lead pellets.

The tin of Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign 15.9 Grain .22 caliber pellets we tested contained 0.23 Grains of dirt. That’s 0.046 Grains per 100 pellets, or 0.00266% of the pellet weight. That’s extremely low and another indication of quality manufacturing!

Downrange Performance.

We tested the actual Ballistic Coefficient for these pellets using a Labradar Doppler radar system and found it to be 0.029. This is exactly the same figure as claimed by Daystate. It’s also relatively high for a .22 caliber domed pellet and indicates strong downrange performance.

Due to the high BC of these pellets, they retain 70% of that initial Muzzle Energy out at 45 Yards. So, it’s clear that the Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign 15.9 Grain .22 caliber pellets are suitable for hunting at long ranges, especially when fired from a powerful PCP air rifle, as intended.

Packaging.

Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign 15.9 Grain .22 caliber pellets are packed in a push top tin. There’s a disk of foam inside the tin so provide protective padding during transport. The large diameter tin matches the volume of the pellets and padding well, so no rattling is heard when the full tin is shaken.

Let’s Talk Pellets - A Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign .22 Cal Pellet Review

I’ll go on record as saying that I much prefer screw-top pellet tins. I tend to have unintended disasters when opening push-top tins and one happened to me during this test!

Of course, that’s the reason to decant your pellets into one of those beautiful leather Wilkins pellet pouches before you go shooting…

Let’s Talk Pellets - A Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign .22 Cal Pellet Review

And, of course, the Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign pellets are, of course, very far from the only ones that ship in push-top tins!

Summary.

Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign 15.9 grain .22 caliber pellets combine good manufacturing consistency with a below-average price.

The head diameter, in particular, was extremely consistent. These are also very clean pellets.

That’s a great combination. If you’re shooting .22 caliber and not using these pellets, they’re definitely worth trying.

But even with such good manufacturing quality, it’s clear that all pellets are not absolutely identical. If you’re looking for match-winning performance, it’s definitely worth washing and sorting your pellets, even when you’ve found the “perfect” pellet for your gun.