Posts Tagged ‘air rifle’

G12 FX t12 001

To ready the T12 400 for shooting, slide the cap off the foster fitting, connect a SCUBA tank or high pressure pump, and fill the reservoir to 220 bar. Replace the cap, fill the rotary magazine and slide it into place, and you’re good to go. Or you can do what I did (since I was feeling lazy) and load a pellet at a time into the aft end of the barrel. The beech is deep enough to allow single pellet loading, but a single-shot tray would have made it easier.

G12 FX t12 007

To load a pellet or index the rotary magazine, you have to pull the bolt back until it clicks. This requires a fair amount of effort. I was not able to measure exactly how much effort is required, but I am fairly certain that it is above the 12 pounds that my digital trigger gauge could measure. It is enough effort that I had to take the T12 400 off my casual rests, cradle the air rifle in my lap, grip it with my left hand and pull back hard with my right hand.

Once the action clicks, the bolt will stay in the back position until you push it forward, or you can lock it in the aft position to prevent it from moving forward. This is the only form of safety on this rifle, and you need to remember whether you have inserted a pellet into the breech.

G12 FX t12 004

With the T12 400 loaded, take aim and squeeze the trigger. The first stage requires only 7.9 oz of pressure, and at 12.6 oz, the shot goes off. The report is remarkably subdued, considering the power of this air rifle. It doesn’t boom and it is not raucous, but it is noticeable. This would not be my first choice for shooting repeatedly in a quiet neighborhood, but I suspect that a handful of shots for pest control would be tolerated.

The T12 400 launches 25.39 grain JSB King .25 caliber pellets at 824 fps (average), generating a touch over 38 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. In my mind, that is certainly enough power for hunting anything (raccoons, for example) that I might reasonably want to take with an air rifle.

The T12 400 is equipped with a smooth twist barrel. They enjoy a reputation for being relatively pellet in-sensitive. The barrel on the sample that I tested was decided unhappy with JSB pellets, but gave me a very nice 5-shot group at 32 yards – one-half inch, center to center – with Gamo Pro Magnum pellets.

In the end, if I wanted to hunt small to medium sized game or control small to medium sized pests, the FZ T12 400 in .25 caliber would be very high on my list.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight,

–          Jock Elliott

G12 FX t12 005

Over the years as an airgun writer, I’ve heard or read or seen some wild and wooly tales relating to wound ballistics and airgun lethality. An airgun manufacturer had a video showing a wild pig being killed by a .177 magnum breakbarrel springer. On one of the forums, a fellow claimed to have killed a coyote instantly by putting a .177 pellet in the coyote’s ear canal. A trusted source told me that he had inadvertently killed a deer with a cheap Chinese springer. He was trying to shoot the deer in the behind, to chase it off his ornamental plants. The deer turned, the pellet went between the ribs, a pneumothorax resulted, and he found the deer dead in the flowers the next morning. So, yeah, you can kill really big game with really small pellets. (Along the same lines, archer Howard Hill once killed an elephant with a long bow.)

But then you have to ask the next questions: Is it a good idea? Is it recommended? Is it a “best practice?” The answer, in my view, is emphatically: NO! (If you are the Howard Hill of airguns, then you already know what you can and cannot accomplish with various calibers and power levels of airguns; this blog is addressed to the rest of us ordinary mortals.)

In general, if you want to hunt small to medium sized game and/or do pest control with an airgun, you want enough power to penetrate deeply into your quarry and a wound channel that is big enough to damage organs and cause lots of bleeding. Incidentally, the only sure way to cause instantaneous death in any creature is to disrupt the central nervous system. That’s why police snipers will, in general, aim for the brain stem – the spot where the brain connects to the rest of the nervous system.

And that brings us to this week’s airgun, the FX T12 400 Synthetic. www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me one to test, and I have to say that I am impressed. First, I just plain like the way this air rifle looks. It’s clean, purposeful. No frills, no foofaraw – just the stuff you need and everything in its place. It stretches 39.75 inches from end to end and weighs just 6.5 pounds before you mount a scope. It’s available in .22 or .25 caliber. I tested the .25 version. The T12 400 is a “bottle” gun, that is, it has a large bottle-type air reservoir that, in this case, holds 400 ccs of air. That’s where the “400” designation comes from.

G12 FX t12 003

At the extreme aft end is a thick rubber butt pad that can be adjusted vertically after loosening a screw. Forward of that is a matte black ambidextrous synthetic stock that has a fairly vertical pistol grip and thumb rests on either side at the top of the pistol grip. The finish on the entire stock has a soft rubbery feel that is pleasant to touch and easy to keep a secure grip on.

Forward of the pistol grip is a black metal trigger guard that surrounds a black metal adjustable trigger. Forward of that, on the underside of the forestock, is a pressure gauge to let you know how much pressure is left in the air reservoir. Moving forward again, at the end of the forestock you’ll find the air reservoir. Above that is the barrel, finished in black with a sound moderator permanently affixed to the muzzle end.

G12 FX t12 006

Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find a steel sleeve that brings additional rigidity to the barrel for improved accuracy. Aft of that is the receiver which has a large breech slot that accepts a rotary magazine. On top of the receiver are dovetails fore and aft of the breech for mounting a scope. On the right side of receiver is a large bolt handle which has two positions: locked closed and locked open. Also on the right side of the receiver, forward of a breech, is a male foster fitting that is used for filling the reservoir.

Next time, we’ll look at how well the T12 400 shoots.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight,

–          Jock Elliott

G12 Hammerli AR20 005

I’ll tell you what my first thought was when www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me the Hammerli AR-20 to test: “What in the world do they expect to do with this thing?”

My days of attempting to shoot 10-meter match competition are some years behind me, and I wasn’t very good at it even then. (The experience did serve me well for the standing shots in field target, however.) Did the good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com really expect “Uncle Wobbles” to give this rifle a serious test as a 10-meter machine? I sincerely hoped not.

Sure, the AR-20 has a lot of the goodies that you would expect in a 10-meter competition rifle and it comes with match diopter sights for 10-meter competition. But then I noticed something: it has a scope dovetail that goes from here to Cleveland. Well, actually it extends from fore and aft of the breech and all the way down the length of the barrel shroud. And that gave me an idea. We’ll get back to that notion in just a little while, but first, let’s take a guided tour of the AR-20.

G12 Hammerli AR20 006

The AR-20 stretches nearly 40 inches from end to end and weighs 9 pouncs. Most of the receiver and barrel assemblies on the AR-20 are made of metal. Most of accoutrements – forestock handpiece, pistol grip, buttstock, and so forth – are made of plastic. At the extreme aft end of the AR-20 is a soft rubber butt pad that is adjustable for height and for length of pull. Forward of that, under the buttstock, are a couple of metal weights that can be removed if the shooter sees fit. Forward of that is a cheekpiece that is adjustable for height and that can be reversed for left-handed shooters. Moving forward again, you’ll find a plastic pistol grip that can be rotated to suit the shooter’s preference.

G12 Hammerli AR20 007

Ahead of the pistol grip is the trigger which doesn’t have a trigger shoe but is a ridged rod. It is, however, very comfortable to use. The trigger can be adjusted in a variety of ways – including weight, pressure point, stop and slack – to the shooter’s preference. Ahead of the trigger is a partial metal trigger guard and beyond that is the forestock handpiece which can be slid back and forth along a rail to the shooter’s preference.

The forestock enclosed the compressed air reservoir and above that is the shrouded metal barrel which has a dovetail on the muzzle end to accommodate a globe diopter front sight. Moving back along the barrel, we come to the black metal receiver, which features a generous breech and dovetails aft of the breech for mounting the competition peep sight. At the very end of the receiver is a t-shaped assembly which is the bolt.

G12 Hammerli AR20 004

To ready the AR-20 for shooting, you must unscrew the air reservoir, connect it to a special adaptor (included with the gun), charge it up to 300 bar from a hand pump or SCUBA tank, and then re-attach the reservoir to the gun. Hammerli claims 200 shots per fill when charged to 300 bar.

To load the AR-20, press the bolt release button in the center of the bolt handle, pull the bolt back, drop a .177 pellet into the groove in the center of the breech, and return the bolt to its original position. The trigger is extremely light and crisp. I measured the trigger pull: first stage, 3.8 oz; second stage 5.5 oz. No, that is not a typo – trigger weight was well under half a pound. If that is not light enough for you, I suggest trying a “psychic” trigger.

The AR-20 launches 7 grain match pellets at 577 feet per second. And the accuracy? Well, it’s just plain boring: at 10 meters from a rest, the AR20 will put pellet after pellet through the same hole. The presumption is that a properly trained 10-meter shooter could do pretty well with the AR-20.

G12 Hammerli AR20 001

And now we get back to my idea: what else is it good for? In 1984 Peter Capstick, big game hunter and African Correspondent for Guns & Ammo magazine, published an article that changed the outlook of many shooters. Entitled simply “Minisniping,” it related how Capstick and his fellow big rifle shooters were enjoying the delights of shooting at spent 9mm brass at 35 yards, from a rest, with Olympic style match air rifles.

Capstick and his fellow minisnipers shot with scoped match quality air rifles of their day: the Feinwerkbau 300s and others. These were recoilless spring-powered rifles that launched match pellets downrange at about 560-600 fps. At 35 yards, the velocity is well below 500 fps, and any bit of wind will push the pellet around with impunity. Using a low-powered, scoped, match air rifle at that range made minisniping both challenging and fun.

Capstick calculated that shooting at a ¾” high casing at 35 yards was equivalent to targeting an enemy sniper’s torso at over 1,300 yards. It’s a game that takes just a few minutes to learn and a lifetime to master—and that’s where the true seduction lies. I would like to humbly suggest that the AR-20, which costs slightly less than $1,000 and is very easy to scope, would make a superb air rifle for practicing the fine art of minisniping.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

G12 Remington resettable target 002

It was Leigh Wilcox, proprietor of the now-defunct Airgun Express, who memorably said to me several years ago: “Fun targets fall down, break, or bleed.”

And he was right. While I enjoy shooting at paper targets, there are times when I just crave to shoot at a target that does something when a pellet clobbers it fair and square.

Recently the good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me a large box with a bunch of goodies in it. In addition to a bunch of packing peanuts, there were several air pistols and, at the very bottom, a largish green box that said “Remington Airgun Target.” It also said, “Auto reset,” which I don’t think is exactly correct, but we’ll get to that in a little while.

G12 Remington resettable target 003

Remington manufactures a line of airgun targets. The one that I was sent was a metal silhouette of a wild boar with a 12-inch heavy metal spike attached. The target is very similar to the targets used in field target competition, but it isn’t quite the same. Field targets are designed with a hole – the kill zone – at some location on the face plate of the target. There is a paddle behind the hole, and when a pellet passes through the kill zone and hits the paddle, the target falls down. The target must then be pulled upright using a long string that is attached to the face plate of the target.

G12 Remington resettable target 004

The Remington wild boar resettable target that I was sent has a metal face plate with a hole in it, and behind the kill zone is a paddle. But when a pellet hits the paddle, the entire target does not fall down. Instead, the paddle tilts backwards, and it is clearly visible to the shooter that the paddle is no longer behind the kill zone. To reset the target, the airgunner must shoot the second paddle which is hanging below the face plate. When that paddle is struck with a pellet, it causes the first paddle – the one behind the kill zone – to pop back up to its upright position.

G12 Remington resettable target 005

So while the Remington resettable target is not exactly “automatic” – that is, it doesn’t reset itself without any intervention from the shooter – it does reset without having to pull a string. As another part of the package says, it is a “shoot-to-reset target.” As such, it saves the shooter from the hassle of having to lay out up to 50 yards of string (depending, of course, on the distance) and having to wind it all back up again, as you would with a conventional field target.

G12 Remington resettable target 007

What makes the Remington resettable target particularly appealing is that offers the shooter the ability to vary the size of the kill zone. The basic size of the kill zone is 1.5 inches, but there are two metal inserts that can be rotated into the kill zone to reduce its size to 1 inch or .5 inch.

This target is intended only for use with lead pellets, and several places on the package it says that it is not to be used with non-lead pellets or BBs because of the risk of ricochet. There is one very curious note on the package. It says: “Minimum distance: .177 cal 1000+ fps 25 yards, .22 cal 800+ fps 35 yards. Presumably this is to prevent damage to the target which would probably take the form of dents to the metal. I would guess that most airgunners would find hitting a half-inch kill zone at 35 yards pretty challenging. I know that I would.

The Remington resettable target doesn’t come with any written instructions that I could find, but its use is pretty straightforward. After a while, however, the face plate and the paddles will become smeared with gray lead from the pellets so that eventually it will become difficult to see the paddle clearly behind the kill zone. When that happens, a little spray paint – flat black for the faceplate and yellow for the paddles – will make everything visible again.

The Remington resettable target is simply a lot of fun. If you are an airgunner, you need one of these. It will put a grin on your face.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Why in the world would an airgun company knowingly create and sell an air rifle/scope combo with a crappy scope – one that is likely to create a customer satisfaction and product return problem for them? The short answer is that you are not the first customer. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Of course I am the first customer. I’m the guy who plunks down his money and takes the air rifle/scope combo home.”

Wrong. The first customer for that air rifle/scope combo is the buyer at a big box chain of retailers. I saw a documentary a few years ago that explained there has been a change in the dynamic between manufacturers and big box retailers that have thousands of stores.

It used to be that a manufacturer’s representative would approach the buyer at a retail chain, put on a dog-and-pony show of what products he had available, and then the buyer would decide which products to order. Now the buyer may well be, in effect, deciding which products the manufacturer should make by saying something like this: “If you can deliver a rifle/scope combination with the following features for $X price, I’ll buy 100,000 of them.”

Now no manufacturer is going to turn down a big sale like that, so they will try to figure out how they can deliver the rifle/scope combo that the big box buyer wants at the specified price and still make a profit. The end result: a really cheesy scope is part of the combo.

At this point, you may well be thinking: “What about me, the airgun enthusiast? Don’t they care about me?” The short answer is: yes, they do care, but probably not as much as you had hoped.

The reason, quite simply, is that the big box retailers are the center of the universe when it comes to corporate profits for the bigger airgun manufacturers. Enthusiasts are important, but not as important as the big box stores.

It’s really a matter of numbers. I did a little research a few years ago to try to get a handle on the size of the airgun enthusiast market. I called each of the bigger online airgun retailers, talked to the boss, and asked – under the provision that I would not share the information with anyone else – how many unique customers they had in their customer database. Then I added up the numbers (ignoring the fact that there were probably duplicate customers from retailer to retailer and that the folks I was talking to might be inflating the numbers just a bit) and came up with an estimate that there were 15,000-20,000 airgun enthusiasts in the United States.

Given that this was a few years ago and that the airgun market has been growing, let’s postulate that the number has more than doubled, and that there are now, say, 50,000 airgun enthusiasts in the U.S.

That’s not a bad number, but compare that to the millions of people who visit the big box retailers every day, and you don’t have to be Einstein to figure out why those big box stores are so important to the larger airgun manufacturers.

So what can you do to help get the airgunning products you want? Two things.

First, if you have a retailer like www.airgunsofarizona.com who spends the time on the phone (or in person) with you to help you make an informed buying decision, support them by buying from them. Sure, you might spend a buck or two more, but isn’t it worth it to get buying advice you can trust from people who actually know and use the product?

Second, reinforce good behavior but letting manufacturers know when they have done something right. Take the time to call the customer service line or email someone when you really like their product: “Hey, thanks for including an adjustable objective on that rifle combo” or “I really love the new such-and-such pistol; well done!”

Ingratitude is darn-near a national disease in the United States. It is very fashionable to bitch, whine, and complain when the least little thing doesn’t suite us. Let’s strike a blow for the good guys. Let people know when they are doing good and how much you appreciate it. You’ll be surprised how much good you can do with a few positive words.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you probably have noticed that I don’t generally do negative reviews. Oh, sure, I may mention that I didn’t like this or that about a particular airgun or that something could be improved, but if I find that an airgun has what I call “a fatal flaw” (for example, the trigger weight might be unacceptably high), I tell the manufacture that the review will have to wait until they fix the problem.

My underlying philosophy is that you, the reader, would prefer to read about products that work reasonably well and that perhaps you might like to buy. My presumption is that you, like me, read reviews of products on-line as a kind of “decision support tool” that you use to figure out whether you are interested in a product.

Lately, though, I have noticed a trend that has gotten me hot enough that I need to blow off some steam. That trend has been the inclusion of really crappy scopes in a package with an inexpensive yet decent air rifle.

What do I mean by “a really crappy scope?” Quite simply, a scope that does not have an adjustable objective. An adjustable objective – usually a rotating bell on the end of the scope that faces the target but sometimes a sidewheel on the scope – allows the shooter to critically focus the scope on the target. Sometimes because the scope cannot be focused, it is just plain difficult to see the target clearly.

But there is another problem: a non-adjustable objective can result in something called parallax error. For a detailed explanation of parallax, go here: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2009/07/parallax.html The upshot of parallax error is that if you don’t place your eye in exactly the same spot behind scope for each shot (and it is surprisingly easy to get it wrong), you may think that you are aiming at the same spot on the target, but you may not be.

Now, at this point you would be right to ask: “So what?” Well, it is a very big “so what.” If you can’t be sure that you are aiming at the same spot on the target, your attempts to shoot groups for accuracy and to test different pellets to see which is the most accurate will be in vain . . . that’s what.

The reason that I am writing about this is that in the past month or so, I have been sent three different air rifle/scope combos that included crappy scopes. In one case, I contacted the manufacturer and said, “The previous generation of this rifle had a better scope; this is a step backwards.” I was told: “The decision was made to include this scope with this rifle. I’ll let you know if anything changes.”

In another case, I contacted the parent company, and they said, “Maybe you got a defective scope.” I sent the scope back and in a few days I heard from them: “You should test this rifle with whatever scope you prefer.” In other words, the scope was not defective, just crappy. (And in private conversations, the guy I spoke with, a marketing guy, admitted that this was likely to create a customer satisfaction and product return problem for them.)

Next time, we’ll look at why airgun companies do this.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Recently, as research for a story in ShootingSports USA, I had the opportunity to interview several of the shooters who won their classes at the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship held at Crosman Corporation, July 10, 11 and 12.

There were several unusual stories, and one that certainly caught my attention was that of John Tyler of Yardley, PA. He won the Hunter PCP class, which the most hotly contested with some 44 registered shooters.

A couple of things really struck me about John’s effort. The first is that he was shooting a somewhat unusual air rifle. He was shooting a Benjamin Marauder in .177 equipped with a hammer de-bounce device and with a forestock that has been shortened by several inches. The underside of the buttstock has been removed which took off about a pound of wood. Because he is shooting in the hunter class, which allows the use of shooting sticks, the stock has a notch at the end of the forestock to fit the shooting sticks.

In the photo below are two of John’s Marauders. He won with the one on the bottom.

IMG_20140806_181534593

What really sets John’s Marauder apart is that, having been tuned by Chris Helm, it shoots hot, sending 8.44 grain Air Arms pellets downrange at 1,010 feet per second, for around 19.8 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Now, if you have been reading this blog for a while or paying attention to various on-line forums, you know that conventional wisdom has it that you really don’t want your air rifle launching pellets at more than 930-950 fps, because higher than that will likely produce inaccuracy. Tyler’s Marauder apparently has not gotten the news. It shoots very accurately at that power level and delivers about 50 shots at that power level per fill.

John tells me that his M-rod shoots flat from 22-45 yards and that additional power really helped him to punch through high winds and torrential rain on the second day of the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship. While most shooters shot significantly worse on the second day, John shot the same score both days, although he feels he should have done better on the first day.

IMG_20140806_164557703_HDR

The second unusual aspect of Tyler’s effort was his use of a radio-controlled truck to help him confirm his “scope dope” on the sight-in day. Walking a target holder out yard-by-yard to make sure that his scope is set up properly could be very interruptive to other shooters, since the rangemaster would have to call a cold line each time John wanted to move his target. So he mounted a sign holder on the back of his radio control truck and uses that the move the target as needed without interrupting the other shooters. At the Northeast Regional, he positioned himself at the far end of the sight in range and inched the truck out yard by yard as he sighted in and made sure that all was well with his scope.

John tells me that there is a very small printed sign on the back of the radio controlled truck that says, “If you shoot me, you’ll have to deal with my owner.”

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

— Jock Elliott

FZ200 Daystate target 001

To ready the Daystate Mk4 iS Target for shooting, remove the cap at the end of the air reservoir and fill the reservoir to 230 BAR with a SCUBA tank or high-pressure pump. Next, load the rifle.

Because this is a target rifle, I didn’t mess with the 10-shot rotary magazine, since my preference would be to load single shots if I were shooting field target with this rifle. Initially I tried loading the Daystate Mk4 iS Target without the benefit of the single-shot tray, but I found this to be enormously fussy and difficult. Fortunately, single shot tray is included with the Daystate Mk4 iS Target. It drops readily into place, is held there by magnets, and makes loading single shots absolutely straightforward. You rotate the bolt up and pull full back, place a pellet headfirst on the tray, and slide the bolt back to its original position.

FZ200 Daystate target 006

It’s at this point that I encountered some of the weirdness that is associated with an electronically controlled rifle. The bolt, it turns out, doesn’t cock anything, so it operates super smoothly and very easily. The electronics do all the cocking of the action within the receiver. As a result, it is possible to trigger shot after shot, without moving the bolt, simply by pulling the trigger if the safety is set on FIRE. Now obviously, if you are not moving the bolt and loading any pellets, you will not be sending pellets downrange with those repeated trigger pulls, but you will be sending compressed air down the barrel, compressed air that could cause damage if in too close proximity to another object. (A fellow on one of the forums, using a different precharged pneumatic rifle, put his finger over the muzzle and pulled the trigger to see if there was any air left in the reservoir. The resulting pellet-less discharged wreaked havoc with his finger, and his next stop was the emergency room.)

When the electronics are turned off, the trigger has a small amount of play and feels as inert as if it were attached to a brick wall. Turn the electronics on, though, and it becomes a thing of wonder. There is a very light, but solid and unmistakable , first stage (which I found impossible to measure with the electronic trigger gauge), and at 7.3 ounces, the very crisp second stage trips, and the shot goes off

Mk4177

On high power, the Daystate Mk4 iS Target launches 10.34 grain JSB .177 pellets at 917 fps average for 19.4 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. On Power 2, it sends the same pellets downrange at 797 fps average for 14.7 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Accuracy was excellent, as you can see from the target below shot at 32 yards, and the report, thanks to the very efficient valve and control system (which will deliver more than 100 shots per fill on Power 2), was to my ear no louder than an average high-power springer.

FZ200 Daystate target 013-001

In addition, the electronic of the Daystate Mk4 iS Target offer a wide variety of control options for the shooter, including: magazine counter, shot counter, active display pressure, power, lighting, turning magazine counter on and off, single shot mode, and low pressure warning.

To be honest, I didn’t mess with any of these electronic settings. Instead, I contented myself with the pleasure of shooting an astonishingly accurate air rifle.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

FZ200 Daystate target 009-001

I have to get this off my chest right up front: I am not accustomed to air rifles that light up when you switch off the safety. Yet that is precisely what the Daystate Mk4 iS Target does. When you move the rotary safety to the FIRE position, a cheerful little screen just forward of the safety on the left side illuminates with messages such as “115.0BAR” (the pressure within the air reservoir), “Pwr 2” (the power level), “S69” (the number of shots that have been taken; it’s resettable), “73%” (the state of the battery charge), and so on.

FZ200 Daystate target 011

The Daystate Mk4 iS Target, you see, is a target rifle with an electronically controlled heart. It features the Harper patent Mapped Compensated Technology (MCT) electronic firing system, the Harper sling-valve valve, and an air-stripper out at the muzzle end of the barrel. We’ll talk about what all that means in terms of the shooting experience in a bit (probably in Part II), but let me cut to the chase: the Daystate Mk4 iS Target is a bona fide tackdriver and, it is a little unusual to shoot because of the electronics.

FZ200 Daystate target 005

First, let’s take a guided tour of the Daystate Mk4 iS Target. At the extreme aft end of the thumbhole stock, which is covered with a soft rubbery material for better gripping, you’ll find a soft rubber butt pad that can be adjusted vertically. Forward of that, on the right side of the buttstock is a large silver knob that, when loosened, allows the shooter to adjust the height of the cheek piece.

The pistol grip is almost vertical and has finger indentations and textured surfaces on either side. Above that on either side is a shelf for resting your thumb while shooting. Forward of that, the stock material surrounds an adjustable electronic trigger that has an adjustable trigger shoe. Underneath the trigger assembly is a slot where there is a lock that can lock the entire rifle as well as a bolt for attaching the receiver to the stock. The stock can be fitted with a rail underneath and a knee riser for field target.

FZ200 Daystate target 002

Above the extreme forward end of the forestock is the 144 cc air reservoir. There is a black cap on the end that can be removed to reveal a male foster fitting for filling the reservoir with a SCUBA tank or a high pressure pump. A barrel band connects the reservoir to the barrel, and at the muzzle end of the barrel you’ll find an air stripper that strips turbulence from the pellet as it exits the barrel to increase accuracy. The stripper is tune-able to your pellet. By loosening the screw and sliding the unit forward or back you can tune the harmonics and actually improve accuracy for your pellet/power combo.

Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the black metal receiver, which incorporates a generous breech that can be fitted with a 10-shot rotary magazine or a single-shot tray. On the left side of the receiver is the digital display, and at the extreme aft end of the receiver is a large silver colored bolt handle.

The Daystate Mk4 iS Target stretches just 36.5 inches from end to end and weight 9.5 pounds before a scope is fitted. It is available in .177 or .22 caliber. www.airgunsofarizona.com sent me the .177 version to test.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how the Daystate Mk4 iS Target performs.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

FZ200 FX Bobcat 008

To get the Bobcat ready for shooting, first charge the air reservoir to 200 bar (not quite 3,000 psi) using a SCUBA tank or high pressure pump. Be sure to use the fitting that comes with the Bobcat because it can be difficult to get a grip on a normal (shorter) fill fitting.

Next, load the12-shot rotary magazine. To do that, first, rotate the clear plastic face plate counter-clockwise as far as possible. Now, while holding the face plate in position, flip the magazine over so you’re looking at the back side. You’ll see that a port has opened in the back of the magazine. Load a pellet backwards (tail first) into the port. This will lock the spring and keep the inner wheel from turning. Now, flip the magazine over and load the rest of the pellets by dropping them nose-first into the magazine while rotating the transparent cover so that the hole in it opens each of the pellet “bays.” Once you have filled the magazine, rotate the transparent cover back to its original position.

An aside: The magazine is self-indexing. In other words, the spring inside the magazine causes the inner mechanism to rotate so that the next shot is lined up to be moved into the barrel by the bolt. That’s why you have to rotate the clear plastic face plate; you are, in essence, “winding up” the spring. I mentioned that I actually prefer rotary magazines that are not self-indexing because they have no spring, are easier to load, and there is little to go wrong with them. However, the good folks at www.airgunsofarizona.com pointed out something really important. To wit: if you are going to use a rotary magazine, you have to get it to rotate somehow, which means either a spring built into the magazine or some sort of mechanism to rotate the magazine built into the receiver of the rifle. If a self-indexing magazine has a problem, you just swap magazines, but if the magazine-indexing mechanism that is built into the rifle has a problem, you have to send the entire rifle back for repair.

FZ200 FX Bobcat 002

Now back to our story: Pull the breech lever to the rear of the receiver to move the bolt back. Now slide the magazine into the breech. Push the breech lever forward to move the first pellet out the magazine and into the barrel. Take aim, slide the safety off, and squeeze the trigger. On the sample I tested, it required only 14.2 ounces to take up the first stage, and at l lb 7.7 ounces, the shot goes down range.

On high power, the Bobcat launched the 16 grain JSB Jumbo pellets at an average of 933 fps generating about 30.9 (average) footpounds of energy at the muzzle. The report is a loud pop. On medium power, the same weight pellet cruised downrange at 680 fps, generating 16.4 footpounds of energy, and the report is more subdued. And on low power, the Bobcat averaged 534 fps, for 10.1 fp of energy with a very mild report.

Accuracy was what I have come to expect from FX airguns. At 32 yards, off a casual rest, five JSB pellets fell into a group where all the pellet holes touched each other. It seems to me that the state of the art in precharged air rifles is now very high. It has been quite a while since I have shot a precharged air rifle that did not deliver similar results. They all seem to be wickedly accurate.

The bottom line is that the FX Bobcat is small, easy to handle, relatively quiet at medium and low power, very accurate, and a lot of fun to shoot.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott