About Gordon Smith

By day I’m a mild-mannered manager of Critical Accounts at a large Enterprise Resource Planning company. By night I use my cat-like reflexes and Ninja skills to fight crime. No – wait, I’m exercising poetic license here. I don’t actually fight crime. Truth-be-told, I never had cat-like reflexes and no Ninja skills either. What I do have is a passion for all things airgun related. Over the past several years I have been dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming, but now it is time to expand my comfort zone and jump into this whole blogging/social media business. My plan is to inform in an entertaining and enlightening way while adding to the general body of knowledge involving airgunning. A little background: My older brother had a Daisy model 25 that was well broken-in and he was an excellent shot. He taught me the basics and I coveted that rifle of his. My folks finally thought that I was mature enough to have my own air rifle by my 13th Christmas and so I became the proud owner of a Daisy model 1894 “Spittin Image”. Those were the beginnings of my life-long love affair with contraptions that sling projectiles downrange. I’ve now logged over 60 years on the planet and still have that Daisy. Actually, I believe it is in better shape than me, although it is 13 years younger… I enjoy the technical aspects of the airgunning game and tend to write from that prospective. I’ve competed in organized events a few times; however, the chance to attend formal matches is limited in my neck of the woods so competition will never become a forte of mine. Long ago and far away I taught Industrial Arts – yep, a shop teacher. I left the education game with all 10 digits intact and with my mechanical aptitude/curiosity alive-and-well and that is where my penchant for the technically oriented writing comes from. It has served me well as it led to a position as the Field Editor for Airgun Hobbyist magazine, currently the only hard copy and color format airgun magazine of U.S. origin. My articles have also appeared in a few other national publications in recent years. I appreciate the opportunity that Airguns of Arizona is entrusting me with and hope that you enjoy my humble contributions. Until next time, get out there and exercise that 2nd Amendment right! Regards, -Gordon

Posts by Gordon Smith

The SIG Sauer Advanced Sport Pellet (ASP) line was launched in early 2015 and has now been rebranded as SIG Air in a move to better reflect Sig Sauer’s commitment to become a major player in the airgunning arena.  SIG Air released this .177 blowback version of their P320 in early 2017.  This is the pistol selected as the new sidearm of the U.S Army (as the M17).  Available in black or Coyote Tan, this 1-to-1 replica will not only appeal to collectors, but shooters wanting an inexpensive training companion to the actual firearm.

SIG Air P320 with 30 round belt magazine

Manufactured in Japan to exacting SIG Air standards, it is designed to be close to the weight of the original and have a similar trigger pull weight (about 6.75 pounds on the trigger pull and overall weight of 2.2 pounds).  The realism and build quality of this pistol is very good with a nice, wide polymer trigger, non-adjustable white dot sights and 2 ½ inch picatinny rail section on the underside suitable for adding flashlights, etc.  It lends itself as a training tool for breath and trigger control as well as re-holstering drills, etc.  The drawbacks would be the non-functioning slide lock and take-down lever and this model is not field-strippable.  Also, the actual P320 provides interchangeable grip panels for adjusting the pistol’s width to fit the owner’s hand.  Not so with the SIG Air P320.

The stick magazine rides in the front of the grip ahead of the CO2 cartridge chamber.  It springs out smartly with a press on the magazine release found in the same location as the firearm.   The unique thing about this magazine is that it is belt-fed and holds 30 rounds of either pellets or BBs.  The Double Action Only trigger exhibits a definite “stacking” feel through the firing cycle due to the process of advancing the belt-feed mechanism, but this subsided slightly as the pistol and magazine went through the break-in period.  The P320 sports a rifled 4.75-inch barrel and I prefer not to shoot BBs through rifled barrels, but this is a dual ammo pistol if you prefer to shoot both.  BBs would definitely be easier and faster to load, but at least you have 30 rounds available before you have to think about reloading.  I put both flat-nosed wad cutters as well as pointed pellets through the P320 and other than leaving a couple of “failures to launch” behind in the magazine, it fed well.  Testing on a 75 degree day at 6200 feet in altitude, I was getting around 80 shots per CO2 capsule.  A big cautionary note here: the all metal slide blows back with authority, however, by using a portion of the CO2 to cycle the action it lowers the shot count per CO2 cartridge.  As with any CO2 powered airgun, too low a pressure will cause a pellet to lodge in the barrel leading to a condition that could prevent removal of the magazine.  Since this gun is not field-strippable, a serious jam could require the pistol to be shipped back to SIG Air for repair.

Accuracy of the P320 was reasonable for a gun in this price range.  I would call it “plinking accuracy” and totally suitable for keeping rogue soda cans from becoming a threat.  Rated by SIG Air for 430 fps, my results were more sedate at 340 fps using 8.5 grain H&N Excite Spike pointed pellets.  Still it was a great little plinker and appeals to the collector in me.

The MSRP on the P320 is $119.99 and it comes with a one-year warranty from SIG Air.  For more information on the P320  check out this page on the Airguns of Arizona website.

 

If you have an aversion to snakes I’m going to ask you to buck up and read on so I can relay info on one of the MTC scopes named after vipers.  MTC Optics is a British scope maker around for about a dozen years now and part of the corporate group that owns Breda shotguns and Daystate airguns.  It is a company that was started by shooters to provide optics for shooters by a man named Gary Cooper.  The model I’ve worked with is the Mamba-Lite in a 4-16x42mm configuration with a low-profile side turret for parallax adjustment from 10 yards to infinity.  The body is a 1-inch aluminum tube sporting a matte black finish and the scope weighs in at 20 ounces.  The Mamba-Lite offers multi-coated optic glass for brighter edge-to-edge viewing and a red illuminated reticle. The scopes are made to MTC’s exacting quality standards and designed for use with any caliber.  Normal scope care is all that is required for maintenance; such as cleaning the outside with a soft cloth and using high quality lens cleaning products.

The reticle design is called the SCB2 (mil) and stands for: Small Caliber Ballistic Reticle (type 2) but can certainly be used with larger calibers and is especially appropriate for long range applications as the reticle is in the second focal plane so the mil spacings remain “true” at the highest magnification.  Additionally, ½ mil aiming points have also been incorporated into the reticle.  Only the center of the reticle is illuminated and operated by a microswitch on the parallax turret under a waterproof rubber button.  Minor pressure on the button for 2 seconds turns on the power and there are 6 illumination levels that get brighter with each press of the switch.  Turning off the power is accomplished by pressing the button and holding for 2 seconds, retaining the illumination setting for the next time it is powered up.  Something they appear to have left out, however, is an auto-shutoff so remember to check illumination is off before you store your rifle back in the safe.

A feature I particularly liked were the Patent Pending spring loaded, rotatable flip-up lens covers.  Sometimes fumbling with lens covers that close by snap fit or friction fit can be frustrating and even require two hands to open in order not to pull the covers completely off the scope.  Not so with these covers.  They also stay open at your choice of 90 or 180 degrees and can be locked down in the position you choose.  Why this is important involves the other nifty feature incorporated into the rear cover – a magnifying lens.  When flipped to the 180-degree position, it provides an easy to read heads-up display of whichever turret markings you have it aligned with.  Of course, if using it on a center fire rifle you would be well-advised not to leave the rear cover open to the 90-degree setting as heavy recoil may lead to an unwanted scope bite.

Pricing from www.airgunsofarizona.com is $399.00 and the scope comes standard with a 1-year warranty.  That can be extended to Lifetime, per the U.S. website, by registering it with the manufacturer within 30 days of purchase.  AofA also carries the Sportsmatch scope rings recommended by MTC.  Sportsmatch U.K has been making scope rings for over 45 years and these aluminum rings retail at $37.00.

The Mamba Lite is a quality scope made by MTC Optics

If collectors and enthusiasts refer to the time of airguns crafted of German and British engineering with richly blued steel and top-quality hardwood stocks as the “golden age”, then what we are seeing now must surely be the “realism age”.  Case-in-point is the subject of today’s blog, the “We The People” Advanced Sports Pellet CO2 clone of the 1911 style .45 caliber firearm of the same name introduced by SIG SAUER a couple of years ago.

The new SIG SAUER “We the People” CO2 repeater

Part of the Advanced Sport Pellet line, this beautifully crafted air pistol is an exact replica of that firearm made in Taiwan as part of SIG’s “next generation of air pistols” to the exact specifications of the firearm.  It duplicates it in almost every detail, right down to the method of field stripping.  A portion of the CO2 is used to provide blowback action.

Impressive as the detailing is, this pistol is equally impressive in the styling department.  The original .45 is a tribute to America and the 2nd Amendment.  This BB pistol sports a metal slide marked on the top with a circle of 13 stars representing the original colonies, on the left side with 1776 in large numbers and on the right side with WE THE PEOPLE.  Each metal grip panel is decorated with 25 raised stars to represent the 50 states in the union, and overall the pistol is treated with a distressed antique finish.  The firearm has a skeletonized trigger and hammer, an extended beaver tail and grip safety, as does this BB firing replica.  The grip safety is functional along with an ambidextrous safety that locks the slide just like on any 1911.

As attractive as the pistol is, it is equally well done internally with an excellent fit and mechanical functioning.  No malfunctions were experienced unless the COdropped to a level where the slide would not fully retract and lock back on an empty magazine.

The drop-free magazine holds the 12-gram CO2 cartridge plus 17 BBs in a staggered column.  A supplied hex wrench is used to turn the piercing screw in the floorplate of the magazine.  Other niceties beside the already mentioned ambidextrous safety include a BB follower that locks back to facilitate loading, the face of the trigger is serrated and a clearly written owner’s manual with good black & white photos.  Instructions are included on removing the slide as a start to field stripping but should have gone further to describe removal of the barrel in case of a stuck BB.  SIG SAUER provides a one year warranty as well.

Other details that may be of interest:  the overall weight of the pistol out of the package is 2.2 pounds.  The specs indicate a trigger pull of 4 pounds but on my sample, I found it to average 5 pounds 10.5 ounces.  Though the pistol still needs to go through some additional breaking in which may reduce the trigger pull weight, I wouldn’t anticipate it coming down that far.  I averaged over 4 full magazines per CO2 cartridge (between 70 and 80 rounds) at a mile above sea level doing mostly slow fire.  However, I have to admit, with these CO2 repeaters I have trouble restraining myself from shooting rapid fire strings.  Accuracy was very good right out of the box up to 25 feet or so, making it a great plinker.  It is rated for a velocity of 340 fps and at my altitude, using Hornady Black Diamond BBs, I averaged very close to that with 332 fps.

Functioning is incredibly similar to the real thing

This model is not currently listed on www.airgunsofarizona.com  under their SIG page as it is so new to the market.  However, the great group of folks at AofA can certainly help to order one up for you.  The MSRP listed for this air pistol is $119.00 but check with AofA to discuss pricing.  Additionally, depending upon the political climate where you live there may be restrictions on shipping this air pistol.

Umarex is a leading purveyor of BB and pellet firing replicas of famous firearms and this example is a licensed copy of the popular P30 series from Heckler and Koch that is actually manufactured in Germany by HK for Umarex.  Like its firearm counterpart, it is a polymer pistol sporting a metal slide. However, this is not a blowback pistol as the slide is non-reciprocating.  It does separate, with the front section sliding forward upon depressing what would be the slide release lever on the actual firearm.  Once the slide is open, either a metal 8-round rotary magazine or a BB adapter can be inserted into the gun.  To shoot BBs, the plastic “BB adapter” supplied with the gun is inserted in place of the rotary pellet magazine and 15 BBs are loaded into the drop-free magazine.

P30 with magazine & accessories

This pistol operates in both single and double action modes and has a functional exposed hammer.  The P30 is listed as being a semi-auto because the internal workings line up the next shot automatically and ready the gun for firing, but to shoot in single action, the hammer must be manually cocked each time.

While the P30 is a faithful reproduction in looks and feel, right down to the picatinny rail on the dust cover, the only controls that operate as on the original are the ambidextrous magazine release incorporated into the trigger guard and the de-cocking button at the rear of the slide, next to the hammer.

To ready for firing, a 12-gram CO2 capsule is inserted into the drop-free magazine after rotating the magazine base plate 180 degrees clockwise.  A small knurled wheel at the base plate of the magazine is rotated to “snug up” the capsule and then the magazine base is rotated counterclockwise to pierce the capsule.  The gun would then be pointed in a safe

P30 Magazine with base plate in open position

direction and the trigger pulled to make sure that CO2 was flowing and the gun would fire before loading it with ammo.  Note that, with this gun, if the manual safety near the rear of the slide is engaged, it blocks the valve so you might think the CO2 capsule has not been pierced as trigger pull is not affected by the manual safety.

Nice features of this P30 replica include a 3.3-inch rifled steel barrel, vertical groves in the face of the trigger, front and rear sights that are drift adjustable for windage, a hard-plastic foam-lined case plus the inclusion of two 8-round pellet magazines and a small plastic tool for seating the pellets to the same depth.  Additionally, it is a quiet shooter compared to other CO2 pistols I own, making this model “backyard friendly”.

Umarex rates the P30 at 360 fps for pellets (grains not specified) and 395 for BBs.  Since I prefer not to shoot BBs through barrels with shallow rifling, I can only report my results from the pellets I used.  My findings are based on a 90+ degree day at well over a mile above sea level.  Using H&N Excite Plinking pellets weighing 7.3 grains the average fps was: 304.9 and with Predator GTO lead free wad cutters at 5.5 grains the average fps was: 278.1.

The P30 wasn’t stingy with the CO2, yielding only 45+ full power shots per capsule.  It was fun to shoot and with the two magazines provided, was quick to reload for a full 16 shots, however, keep the pistol level and over your shooting bench when opening the slide to insert or remove the 8-round pellet magazines as they will easily fall out otherwise.  The trigger pull averaged 3 pounds in single action and a very heavy 11 pounds in double action.  Not unmanageable, but it was more pleasurable to shoot by manually cocking the hammer for each shot.  Accuracy was acceptable for a nice plinking airgun at ranges out to 20 yards.  All-in-all, I liked the way it shot and the solid, comfortable feel in your hand.  If you are into the replica airguns at all, this one would make a nice addition to your collection.  MSRP on this model runs in the $225 range and it can be found on the AofA website www.airgunsofarizona.com

for a considerable savings.

For the plinkers in the audience I wanted to cover a fun little item that is an accurate enough replica to be valuable as a training arm as well – the Walther PPK/S from Umarex.  This is an all metal semi-auto replica of the pocket .380 firearm.  As Walther is part of the Umarex family, this little 1.2-pound replica BB shooter sports the Walther logos and is a pretty exacting copy.  The only deviations would be the non-functional safety on the left side of the slide (an actual safety is located on the right side of the frame) and in the case of my slightly older version, a protruding thumbscrew used to pierce the 12-gram CO2 cartridge.  Newer models no longer have the thumbscrew, replacing it with a threaded plug needing a hex wrench, and this gives a more realistic look.

Umarex Walther PPK/S with grip panel and magazine removed.

A 15-round drop-free stick type magazine forms the “pinky ledge” that would be part of the magazine on the real deal. The CO2 cylinder sits behind the stick magazine under the left grip panel which is held in place with spring clips.  The pistol operates by single action and Umarex rates the gun at velocities up to 295 fps.  I experience less velocity because I live at higher altitude but was unable to measure the fps due to a malfunctioning chronograph.  BBs still hit with some authority and in no way diminished the plinking fun that can be had with this little pistol.

The non-adjustable trigger was very nice with a smooth pull that averaged around 2 ½ pounds.  The face of the trigger is grooved like it is on the firearm and after a slight take up it travels about ¼ of an inch before dropping the hammer.  As this is a blowback action gun, some CO2 is bled off to cycle the slide and prepare the next shot.  After the last BB is fired, the slide locks back, but only partially.  Still, it is somewhat realistic and prevents the waste of gas by pulling the trigger on an empty magazine.  The pivoting safety switch on the right side is made of plastic and disengages the trigger when in the downward position.  There is a small cutout in the right grip panel so the lever needs to be slightly depressed to move upward, revealing a large red dot and readying the pistol to fire.

Sporting a 3.5-inch smooth bore barrel, a high degree of accuracy cannot be expected but if you keep your targets to within 25 feet or so, you’ll put plenty of BBs on soda cans, pinecones and other reasonably sized targets.  This pistol was pretty conservative on its gas use so I was able to get up to 90 shots before the pressure dropped to where the slide would not cycle.  It is possible to get additional shots with a fair amount of punch by simply manually cocking the hammer each time thereby getting the most of the CO2 cylinder.

Close up of left side markings on the Walther PPK/S.

Having excellent balance and feel in the hand, plus a very nice trigger for this price range, the PPK/S is a lot of fun.  The MSRP is around $85 and it comes with a 90-day limited warranty.  Umarex USA has a good reputation for warranty work should you need to make use of it.  Check out this model [http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/bb-pistols/walther-ppk/s-bb-co2-pistol/] and other licensed copy CO2 pistols which are available on the Airguns of Arizona website at: www.airgunsofarizona.com.

Beretta Px4 Storm air pistol showing the safety lever

This Umarex licensed copy of the Beretta Px4 Storm, a 1:1 BB/Pellet firing copy of the original firearm released in 2004, is a black polymer pistol with a metal slide.  It features blowback action and a single or double-action trigger mechanism utilizing an exposed hammer to activate the valve.  Sights are fixed and the slide stop and manual safety levers are molded in/non-functional.  However, Umarex did provide a manual safety on the right side that requires a 2-step action to engage/disengage it.  A long lever has a ribbed bar inset into its face that must be depressed and slid rearward slightly in order to be able to move the safety lever either upwards to disengage and reveal a red dot, or downwards to engage.  Interestingly, if the hammer is back when engaging the safety lever, it will safely be dropped.

CO2 cartridges are inserted in the grip after rotating the false magazine floorplate clockwise 270 degrees and removing a small backstrap panel.

False magazine floorplate is the piercing knob

Insert with the neck pointing upwards and the base of the cartridge rests on a curved plastic wheel that can be rotated to snug the cartridge up against the piercing pin.  Returning the false magazine floorplate back to its original position pierces the cartridge, taking guesswork out of the piercing operation.  Pellets are held in a stick magazine that rides in the grip just in front of the CO2 cartridge.  It is ejected from the grip by depressing the functional magazine release button found in the usual location on the left side just behind the trigger guard.  Be certain your hand support hand is in position to catch the magazine as it is forced out by spring pressure.  The magazine is a double-ended affair with rotary pellet chambers on either end each holding 8 pellets.  Count your shots or you may wind up wasting CO2 before you realize you need to drop the mag and insert the other end as there is no mechanism to lock the slide back after the last pellet has been fired.

A number of replica CO2 guns on the market bleed off some CO2 in order to simulate recoil and cycle the slide.  However, this Beretta model really offers some kick!   Partially because of that harder recoil/blowback action, I averaged 4 ½ magazines (72 shots) per cartridge shooting only slow fire.  This pistol does not disassemble or field strip like some replica CO2 guns are capable of.  Indentations on either side are the location of the takedown buttons on the firearm, but there are no such buttons on the CO2 version.  Still, those indentations make a nice tactile area for resting the index finger when it is outside the trigger guard.  A short rail is provided on the dust cover should you want to mount a flashlight, laser or training device such as Laser Ammo or MantisX.

Firing in double-action for the first shot averaged a trigger pull of 10 pounds, 4 ounces.  Of course, the hammer is cocked after that first shot and the trigger pull drops off to an average of 5 pounds, 6 ounces.  The trigger pull is long and a little gritty, but I anticipate that will improve as the gun is broken in more.  Trigger break is crisp and remarkably good for an air pistol in this price range.  Shooting in single-action mode, I was getting good accuracy from standing shots using various lead and alloy pellets at 10 yards.  The best accuracy seemed to be with the SIG Match Ballistic flat-nosed alloy pellets which weighed in at 5.2 grains.  They averaged 398.8 fps at a mile above sea level out of the 4.1 inch rifled steel barrel.  I am hesitant to fire steel BBs through these dual ammo guns as the rifling is shallow so I stick with pellets.  Umarex USA rates the Px4 at 380 fps using pellets.

The Px4 Storm with magazine and backstrap removed

This little pistol was fun to shoot and accuracy was on par with other semi-auto replica pistols.  It would be an excellent training replica for holster drills and dry-fire practice.  There were no feeding problems or malfunctions.  While the MSRP lists at $110, here is a direct link to the Airguns of Arizona page where the Px4 Storm lists for $79.95: http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/co2/beretta-px4-storm/.   The warranty offered with the pistol covers the buyer for 90 days.

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.

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.

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.