Posts by Stephen Archer

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

Crosman has been a fixture of the Rochester, New York, area for nearly 180 years – although at first not as an airgun company. Back in 1838, when Rochester was still on the wild frontier of New York State, and 23 years before the start of the American Civil War, a certain Fred Crosman founded a seed company in the city. Amazingly, the Crosman Seed Company is still alive and well, operating successfully in the area.

However, in 1923, Bertram Fenner, then the Operations Manager of the Crosman Brothers Seed Company, reached an agreement with one William McLean to produce pellets and an air rifle based on McLean’s designs. In 1924 the Crosman Rifle Company was formed and, with several changes of name and ownership since, has become the company we know today as Crosman Corporation.

Over the course of time, Crosman has grown from a 6-person company in 1940, to the large corporation we see today. In 1992, Crosman acquired Benjamin Sheridan – another major US airgun manufacturer and cemented its position as by far the largest American manufacturer of airguns. Of course, the Benjamin name is now used as the brand for Crosman’s adult hunting and high performance models.

Below. Versions of the 392 and 397 air rifles are still made today, using traditional brass tubes.

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

From the early days, Crosman specialised in multi-pump and CO2-powered airguns. This line of development has been pretty well unbroken to the current day, with the addition of PCP models and breakbarrel air rifles.

The Company Today

In 1971, Crosman moved to a large new, purpose-built location in the rural village of East Bloomfield. This has been the company’s headquarters and manufacturing centre ever since.

And if you think Crosman’s 250,000 Square Foot headquarters is big – it really is!

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

You also then need to add a huge, separate Finished Goods warehouse a few miles away that itself is certainly as large as any other in the airgun industry. Well over 200 people work at Crosman. Like many companies with seasonal swings in manufacturing, the number varies with manufacturing demand.

Both Crosman, as a corporation, and its employees are very proud of the fact that the majority of its products are actually manufactured in the USA. You can read that as “not manufactured in China”.

Like any large manufacturing operation, Crosman sources products from multiple different suppliers in different countries. For example, it makes no sense for it to manufacture the screws and O rings used in its guns (no-one else does, either). But it designs most products in-house and manufactures many parts, too, including barrels, breeches and pressure tubes.

Here’s another part of the assembly floor…

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

Yes, there are Chinese-manufactured Crosman (and Benjamin) airguns, these are mainly the spring/piston and gas ram breakbarrel models. But even here, the company has been steadily bringing assembly back to the USA over recent years, on a model-by model basis.

Below, huge numbers of 760 barrels line up awaiting assembly.

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

Crosman’s longest-running model – the 760 multi-pump air rifle – has always been manufactured in-house. Since 1966, 17 Million 760s have been sold in the USA and – incredibly – every one is test-fired before shipping to ensure quality control. There’s not many airgunners in the US who have not owned a 760 in their youth and had their enthusiasm for airguns fired by it

The Benjamin Marauder – long the most popular PCP air rifle in the US – is also manufactured in the East Bloomfield factory. And again, every one is tested for accuracy and muzzle velocity before it’s shipped out on the test fixture below.

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman
Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

All-in-all, Crosman produces about 1.1 Million airguns every year and claims to be the US market leader in numbers of airguns sold. With numbers like that, I’m ready to believe it…

There’s Much More Than Airguns

Although airguns are the sexy products in our world, there’s lots more going on at Crosman’s factory than that.

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

The company is a major manufacturer of airgun pellets. And when we say “major”, we actually mean “MAJOR!” as the Bloomfield factory pumps out around 3 Million pellets every day – seven days a week. That’s over a BILLION pellets a year and explains why Crosman pellets are found at just about every shop across the USA where you can buy airguns and in many other countries around the world.

Don’t forget that the Crosman factory also bangs-out a massive number of BBs a day, too. In fact, you can make that ten times more BBs than pellets. I lost count of the number of zeroes involved at that point…

Crosman introduced the now-ubiquitous 12 Gram CO2 capsule in 1954. They’ve been making them ever since and currently produce around 140,000 CO2 “Powerlets” every day. That’s a lot of gas!

Quality And Efficiency

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

Crosman is also focussing hard on quality. The company’s Manufacturing Engineer Nic Hargarther took me through many of the improvements Crosman is making to barrels and pellet quality, in particular. That’s part of their barrel inspection system seen above.

The culture of continuous improvement is very striking on the production floor, with great emphasis on parts quality and efficient manufacturing practices.

Although Crosman uses many automated manufacturing systems – how else could they make so many pellets, BBs and Powerlets? – it’s interesting to see that the airguns themselves are all still assembled by hand. The factory is full of multiple small production cells, each one focussed on a specific product (or range of products), with dedicated operators who take pride in their work yet still made time to good-naturedly tease me for “speaking funny”!

Back To The Future

Looking back over nearly 100 years of airgun history, it’s clear that, although Crosman has successfully stuck to its knitting over the years, the company has not been afraid to innovate and enter new markets. Walking around the company’s airgun museum at the factory makes that clear.

Below, there’s a substantial museum at the plant containing examples of just about every model the manufacturer has produced.

Let's Take A Visit To Crosman

Crosman was involved in paintball when that was hot and has been a large player in the airsoft market for years. It also produced an early, electronically-controlled big bore airgun – the Benjamin Rogue – that was arguably ahead its time.

More recently, the Benjamin Airbow is an innovative PCP “airgun” that shoots arrows with the power of a crossbow – make that a cool 168 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy – and opens-up a whole new field of hunting large game with air power.

Thanks, Crosman

Last, but not least, I’d like to thank everyone at Crosman for their help in compiling this story. They were all very generous with their time and information. And they gave me access to every part of the company I wanted to look at – and more…

Power Tuning The Nova Freedom Multi Pump PCP Air Rifle

The American Tactical Nova Freedom is a sophisticated, unusual airgun, and it’s clear that it offers plenty of opportunities for power tuning. We’ll look at some of them in this article.

Note that I used a .22 caliber gun for this work.

Pumping and Fill Pressure

The Nova Freedom has a maximum fill pressure specification of 3,600 PSI. However, in testing it’s clear that the first shot was always slower than subsequent shots.

This is an indication that 3,600 PSI is really slightly too high a fill pressure for consistent shots. Filling to 3,400 or 3,500 PSI will actually give a faster first shot, even though it’s at a lower pressure.

This is important to understand because the Nova Freedom is – of course – a multi-pump air rifle. Just about everyone assumes that they will achieve higher FPS from any multi-pump airgun if they just pump it more.

It’s rarely true and it’s definitely NOT true with the Nova Freedom.

In fact it’s the reverse. Filling the Nova Freedom to above about 3,500 PSI, either by pumping or from a tank, will actually reduce the FPS for the first shots. Over-pumping is not a way of power tuning the Nova Freedom air rifle!

Power Adjustment Knob

The Nova Freedom is fitted with a power adjustment knob on the left side of the breech. With two settings – High and Low – and no intermediate setting possible, this is almost certainly a transfer port changer. (I promised not to take the gun apart and don’t have a parts diagram).

Power Tuning The Nova Freedom Multi Pump PCP Air Rifle

What we have here are two alternative transfer ports which regulate the air supply between the valve and pellet. The larger port allows the air through faster and gives the highest FPS – High Power.

A smaller port restricts the airflow somewhat and gives lower FPS.

It’s clear that this power adjustment knob works and that it provides an easy, simple way of power tuning the Nova Freedom.

Hammer Spring Tension

Power Tuning The Nova Freedom Multi Pump PCP Air Rifle

However there’s a third method of power tuning the Nova Freedom using the built-in controls.

This is actually found on page 11 of the user’s manual, described as a maintenance adjustment.

For there is a built-in hammer spring tensioner available at the rear of the Freedom’s breech. It’s obviously not designed for regular use, requiring the 2.5mm Allen (hex) wrench supplied with the gun to operate.

The manual explains that it may need to be turned after about 3,000 shots to maintain factory FPS. “One turn equals to 100 FPS”, it says.

Now here’s something really interesting, with real potential for power tuning the Nova Freedom air rifle! In other airguns it would be called a power adjuster. Let’s investigate what it can do…

Power Tuning By Adjusting The Hammer Spring

To gain some idea of the potential for power tuning the Nova Freedom by adjusting the hammer spring tension, I ran a series of tests.

Firstly I decided to use 14.35 Grain JSB Jumbo Express pellets for all tests as we had already used them for the shootdown test in the full HAM review.

I ran the same test with the hammer spring adjuster one turn back out. Then I did the same with the adjuster one turn in from the factory setting and two turns in.

Power Tuning The Nova Freedom Multi Pump PCP Air Rifle

This gave eight sets of data, four on High power and four on Low. The expectation was that the “one turn out” setting would give more, slower shots. The other settings would give less shots but with more power.

Did it work out like that? The answer is “yes-ish”.

Please note that these results are based on the sample gun I tested. In these charts, the factory setting is shown in green. One turn more on the power adjuster is shown in orange, two turns more in red. One turn less than the factory setting is blue.

As always, your mileage may vary with another individual Nova Freedom.

Power Tuning on High Power Setting

Most people will probably want to gain more power from their Nova Freedom. As you can see, one turn more on the hammer spring gave slower FPS for the first 4 shots. After that, the FPS increased for shots 5 – 8, before falling again. All in all, this setting gave similar results to the factory hammer spring setting but with the addition of 3 additional usable shots per fill.

Setting the power adjuster two turns in gave a notably slower first shot. However this was followed by a series of significantly more powerful shots, particularly the second, third and fourth.

The greatest increase in FPS achieved was on shot 2, where we gained 22.3 FPS from the adjustment. That way of power tuning the Nova Freedom increased the Muzzle Energy from 30.59 Ft/Lbs to 32.00 Ft/Lbs, a very significant increase of nearly 1.5 Ft/Lbs.

Power Tuning The Nova Freedom Multi Pump PCP Air Rifle

Some shooters value a larger number of more consistent shots over sheer power, however. As the blue line shows, power tuning the Nova Freedom by reducing the hammer spring tension one turn gives a much flatter shot curve. It also gives 18 usable shots on one fill at High power, compared to 12 shots at the factory setting.
 
Power Tuning on Low Power Setting

By selecting Low power, it’s clear that a user values more shots per fill rather than higher FPS for a few shots.

Here the results of our tests are quite different. As you can see, cranking in the hammer spring screw does no good for either FPS or shot count. In fact, you actually get less shots of, generally, less FPS.
 

Power Tuning The Nova Freedom Multi Pump PCP Air Rifle

Reducing spring tension by one turn gave the possibility of two additional usable shots. However, the real benefit here was the considerably flatter (blue) shot curve. Yes, the FPS is less than at the factory hammer spring setting, but it gives you 25 or 26 shots with a surprisingly tight extreme spread. This is the setting to use for consistent accuracy in target shooting with the Nova Freedom!
 
Power Tuning And Air Efficiency

We can obtain a good indication of the air efficiency of the Nova Freedom in these various hammer spring settings by comparing the TOTAL Muzzle Energy of the “good” shots at each setting.

Power Tuning The Nova Freedom Multi Pump PCP Air Rifle

To do this, we simply add the Ft/Lbs figure for each shot in the string and make a total. Comparing these totals at each setting gives us the following chart. Here High power settings are in blue, Low power in green. The numbers in each column indicate the sum total Ft/Lbs at that setting.

There are some very obvious conclusions to be drawn from this analysis…

Clearly, the Nova Freedom has considerably greater air efficiency on Low power setting than on High power. Also, it is much more efficient with the hammer spring adjusted one turn back out.

Maximum air efficiency is obtained on Low power with the power adjuster one turn out. That gives, by far, the most total Muzzle Energy for your pumping effort.

Setting the power adjuster two turns in on High power gives not only the highest FPS, it also gives 16% more total Ft/Lbs than the factory setting.
 
Power Tuning The Nova Freedom Conclusions

Based on the American Tactical Nova Freedom I tested, we can make the following simple power tuning conclusions:

Don’t over pump the gun. In fact, best FPS for the first shot will always be achieved with sightly less than a maximum pressure fill, or if the gun is filled full and then the first shot taken as a blank.

The built-in power adjustment knob works well. High power setting gives higher FPS but less shots per fill. Low power gives many more, somewhat slower shots per fill.

For maximum power, set the hammer spring adjuster one turn in. Either slightly underfill the pressure or fire the first shot as a blank. Pump up to 3,400 – 3,500 PSI after every 3 or 4 shots for maximum consistency at full power.

For the flattest shot curve when target shooting, set the hammer spring adjuster one turn out on Low power. Pump up again after 25 – 26 shots.

This is a very versatile air rifle. Have fun!

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The Diana Outlaw is a sophisticated entrant in the mid range PCP air rifle market. Its good regulated shot count, pleasant side lever cocking and consistent trigger make the gun a strong performer. It looks good and feels good in the hand too.

At $499.99, the Diana Outlaw is priced between the rash of $300 PCPs and the more traditional $1,000-ish starting point for the premium brands. It’s available in .177, .22 and .25 calibers.

Probably the Benjamin Marauder is the gun to beat at the price. Compared to the Outlaw, the Marauder has a better trigger, is quieter and can’t be blank-fired with a magazine in place. But the Diana has a far more consistent regulated shot count, side lever action and more sophisticated looks.

This comparison to the Marauder means that the Diana Outlaw offers very good value for money. That’s always been the Marauder’s strong suit and the Outlaw clearly trades punches with the long-established champion in performance, value and quality. Here they are together.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The Diana Outlaw I tested was in .22 caliber. It achieved a maximum Muzzle Energy of 31.11 Ft/Lbs with the heavy, 21.14 Grain H&N Baracuda Match pellets.

The Baracudas also delivered excellent accuracy. At 25 Yards, the 10-shot test group was very respectable at about 0.3-Inches center-to-center using a scope at 9X magnification.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The Outlaw has a two-stage trigger. However, the first stage is considerably heavier than is normal and it feels rather more like a single stage trigger with a degree of creep. Sear release is predictable, however, and the overall effect quite pleasant. Pull weight averaged a comfortable 1 Lb 11 Oz.

It’s quite possible that the trigger would respond well to a little careful tuning. It is adjustable for pull length and sear engagement. Both adjustments are achieved by using hex wrenches inserted through appropriate holes in the trigger guard.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The Diana Outlaw has a manual trigger block safety. It’s actually in the trigger blade and has a side-to-side action. This safety has a red indicator for “off safe”. When engaged, the other side of the safety projects and prevents movement of the trigger by striking against the trigger guard itself.

This safety is simple to operate for a right-handed shooter. It’s less convenient for a left-hander, however, as a change of hold is required to operate by left-handers. It’s also too small for effective use in cold weather when wearing gloves.

The cocking lever works well and easily. It’s less slick than that of more expensive PCPs, but it’s definitely better than any bolt action I can think of.

The Outlaw has a regulated action. This produces a good, consistent Muzzle Velocity for 49 shots, as you can see from the graph below. From shot 50, pressure had fallen sufficiently that the regulator was no longer activated. The FPS then dropped steadily from shot-to-shot, as is expected.

This test was made using JSB-manufactured Daystate Rangemaster, 15.9 Grain pellets.

The cocking lever works well and easily. It’s less slick than that of more expensive PCPs, but it’s definitely better than any bolt action I can think of.

The Outlaw is supplied with a fully-shrouded barrel. This gives a fairly quiet report. It’s not “Marauder quiet”, however, it’s certainly backyard-friendly.

An interesting design feature is the series of tiny holes drilled in the rear of the shroud. Air can be felt exhausting from these holes whenever a shot is taken. It’s not a strong rush of air, but you can detect it with a hand in the right place.

As expected, the Outlaw is not fitted with any iron sights. In common with most higher-end air rifles, it’s not bundled with a scope either, thus leaving the choice of optics to the owner. I found the Aztec Emerald scopes to be a good partner for the Outlaw.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The top of the breech is grooved with standard airgun dovetails. The magazine does protrude above the top of the breech. However, there’s still sufficient clearance for the scope above the clip, even when using medium height rings.

One issue is that the magazine is loaded from the left side of the gun. This may cause issues with large diameter scope sidewheels, so the new owner should check this aspect before selecting a scope.

The magazine is of an interesting, quite complex design. Capacity is 13 pellets in .177 cal, 11 in .22 and 9 pellets in .25 caliber.

The cocking lever works well and easily. It’s less slick than that of more expensive PCPs, but it’s definitely better than any bolt action I can think of.

It’s easy to load without the need to hold back a sprung cover plate, as is often the case with other rotary magazines, due to an internal ratcheting system.

However, it does not block the action when all pellets are used and there’s no pellet counter. This means that it’s necessary to keep count of the shots fired to avoid a blank discharge.

The magazine slides easily and slickly into the breech, being retained in place by a magnet. There are flats on the side of the rotating pellet holder in the magazine. When a flat is in the vertical position for the second time,  it’s a visual  indication that the magazine is empty.

The Diana Outlaw is also fairly light. The weight of the sample I tested was 6 Lbs 10 Oz without scope. This compares to the 7 Lbs 5 Oz of a synthetic Marauder.

Machining finish is very good, with most metal parts having a uniform, black matt  finish.

The stock has a simple design with no unnecessary curves or shaping. Wood finish is generally good and smooth, with areas of  machine-made “checkering” on the forend and pistol grip to aid a good grip. The expected rubber buttpad seemed well-shaped and comfortable against the shoulder.

I found the Diana Outlaw very easy and comfortable to shoot. The stock design worked well for me, even though there is no adjustable buttpad or cheekpiece, as is common in more expensive PCP air rifles.

The Diana Outlaw uses a probe filling system to charge it with High Pressure Air. This probe has a standard “Foster” quick disconnect on the other end.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

This design enables it to be connected directly to the standard female quick disconnect fitting found on HPA tanks and pumps without the usual, annoying need for an additional adapter. This makes it quick and easy to use, particularly for owners with other PCPs having a standard male fill nipple.

The cover for the fill port is spring-loaded. It’s pulled forward to insert the fill probe, then released back after filling. This is a far better solution than the more common separate screw-thread or push-in cover for the fill port.

The cocking lever works well and easily. It’s less slick than that of more expensive PCPs, but it’s definitely better than any bolt action I can think of.

Now there’s no chance of losing or dropping the cover and the fill port itself is automatically protected from the possible ingress of dirt. This is a first-rate feature that we have not seen on other PCP air rifles.

As you can tell, I liked the Diana Outlaw a lot. I think you will too!

In our photograph above, we see Robert Buchanan from Airguns of Arizona with the Concept Lite at its launch during the 2019 IWA Show in Germany. Now it’s available and shipping from AoA.

The Brocock Concept Lite is positioned as a ‘modular gun platform” – that’s a concept that started with assault rifles, and has now spread to airguns.

Customizing The Brocock Concept Lite

Brocock claims that the Concept Lite is the most solid platform available for building a true tactical, firearm-grade air rifle system. The full-length backbone “chassis” machined from a solid piece of aircraft-grade Aluminum has a lot yo do with that.

To check this out, I spent some time working with a Concept Lite and customizing it to my taste. Above, you can see some of the additions I made. Now we’ll look at them in more detail…

Of course we need a scope! One option is to mount a MTC Mamba Lite scope, as above. Or an Aztec Optics 5.5 – 25 x 50 scope with Sportsmatch rings, below.

Customizing The Brocock Concept Lite

Alternatively, the Leapers Bugbuster could be a compact choice to match the small dimensions of the Concept Lite. (It’s particularly compact when that stock is collapsed into the closed position).

Customizing The Brocock Concept Lite

A bipod is a natural accessory to mount to the lower Picatinny rail.

Customizing The Brocock Concept Lite

There’s horizontal and vertical sling slots in the sliding buttstock. Then all you need is a Picatinny-fitting sling swivel for the front and the Concept Lite is ready for comfortable carry in the field. (If you have no need for the side accessory rails, they’re easily removed using the visible machine screws).

Customizing The Brocock Concept Lite

The shrouded barrel is tipped with a removable barrel nut. Removing this, the very cool-looking Brocock ported Muzzle Brake would be an ideal upgrade!

Brocock says that the pistol grip accepts standard AK47-type replacements, should you wish. So, using a 5 mm Allen wrench, I removed the very nice factory pistol grip.

Customizing The Brocock Concept Lite

Just to prove the point, I then installed a Chicom grip from an old AK47 firearm. Yip, it fits, but I much prefer the look of the Brocock factory part!

And there’s many more possibilities for this versatile, compact, yet solid-feeling air rifle.

Step one – of course – is to get your own Brocock Concept Lite and take it from there!

The MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder is an interesting and useful accessory from the British company.

A laser rangefinder is an essential device for the serious airgun hunter. It can also come in very useful for sighting-in and working-out holdover for the Field Target enthusiast. This is a good one and now Airguns of Arizona has it on sale at nearly $100 off!

With a minimum focusing range of 5 Yards, this MTC rangefinder has a claimed maximum range of 1,300 Yards. We tested it out measuring ranges in comparison to a long surveyor’s tape out to 50 Yards. The readings were spot on!

Like most laser rangefinders, the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder is a small, portable unit. It’s not much larger than a tin of pellets, as you can see from our photograph above. It also comes complete with a comprehensive range of accessories.

The clamshell case can be fixed to your belt by the included carabiner. There’s also a wrist strap which can be attached to the rangefinder for security.

The MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder can be used in two ways. As a stand-alone rangefinder, or as a complete, computerized, ballistic correction system.

1. Using the MTC Laser Rangefinder as a stand alone device.

The first is to simply take it out of the box, install the battery and press the red button on top. Looking through the viewfinder eyepiece, the rangefinder immediately springs to life and records the range of the target you aim at using the reticle.

If you want to select a different reticle pattern, or change measurements from Yards to Meters, this is achieved by pressing the two buttons on top, as explained by the instruction manual.

But this MTC rangefinder can be used in a different way, too…

2. Using it as a complete ballistic correction system.

While the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder can be used “just” as a simple rangefinder, it has huge capabilities beyond this.

To discover and use these capabilities requires you to use a smartphone – iPhone or Android. Download the free Rapier Ballistic Calculator App onto your phone and get ready for a whole new world of computerized shooting assistance!

There’s a link to this from AoA’s product page for the rangefinder.

First it’s essential to understand that once the MTC Laser Rangefinder has been connected to the Rapier Ballistic Calculator App, the rangefinder will be controlled by the phone. You will press the red “fire” button on the rangefinder itself, but everything else will happen on your phone, including turning the rangefinder off after use.

Next, check that the MTC Rapier App has correctly downloaded onto your phone (below, left). Then you MUST go through the “Using The Rangefinder” setup steps, as described on pages 5 and 6 of the manual, even if you are happy with the way the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder works out of the box.

This allows you to make a Bluetooth pairing between the rangefinder and your phone.

Having achieved Bluetooth pairing, you need to tell the MTC App the type of air rifle, scope and pellet you are using. The screen below left shows how to do this. As part of this setup, you’ll need to input the Ballistic Coefficient for the pellet. Time to find that from the Hard Air Magazine Ballistic Coefficients page , for example…

Repeat the same process to tell the App about the other airgun/pellet/scope combinations you will be using. (Hit the + button on the right screen, below). You can select the one you want when you’re ready to shoot.

The App will provide details of holdover based on the sighted-in (Zero) distance and other details you fed into the phone. Obviously they will be visible on your phone’s screen (we’ll see the display screen below), but they are also given audibly as well.

That’s a great feature, but what about if you’re hunting? Simply pair the included earpiece with your phone and you can listen to the instructions. That way the prey is not spooked and you don’t even have to look at the phone to understand the holdover required.

The Audio menu can be configured to speak just the range, or any other combination of information the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder generates. (See below, left).

Other settings include the angular units for your scope’s reticle (above right) and the environmental settings at the time you’re shooting (screens below). As you can see, the MTC App can even retrieve current weather automatically from the Internet if you wish!

So, finally, let’s look at the output display screen of the App (below). The range, target angle and appropriate holdover corrections are all indicated on this screen – and can be spoken to you as we discussed above.

You can also see if your rangefinder has been discovered by the App (the top bar) and the output selection you have made (next bar down). The third bar confirms the scope unit settings you selected and the one below shows the gun.scope/pellet combination profile you’re using now.

Below that is the graphic display for holdover, range, weather etc. That 10 min indicator shows the time before the rangefinder will automatically be switched off. You can change it, naturally.

If you choose to “go the whole hog” and benefit from this great App, it will take a little set-up time, of course. However the results are well worth it for the excellent, comprehensive and immediate results you will achieve when using the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder in the field.

And did we mention that AoA has this rangefinder at a close to a $100 saving right now?

The Labradar Doppler Radar Chronograph - A Vital Tool For The Serious Airgunner

Labradar is a system that measures the velocity of multiple projectiles, including airgun pellets as well as bullets fired from firearms. It measures pellet velocities to an accuracy of 0.1% and offers some interesting benefits for airgunners!

Most serious air rifle shooters are familiar with the benefits of a chronograph – being able to measure the velocity of a fired pellet. Labradar takes this one stage further. It uses a different technology to chronographs and offers the potential benefit of being able to monitor the pellet’s velocity at more than one point during its flight.

Traditional chronographs measure a pellet’s speed using photo electric sensors. Labradar does it using a Doppler radar system.

This means Labrador is the ideal tool to determine those Ballistic Coefficient values for your specific airgun, pellet and location. It can also aid the hunter by indicating exactly how much kinetic energy is available at specific distances downrange.

The Labradar Doppler Radar Chronograph - A Vital Tool For The Serious Airgunner

Labradar is supplied securely packaged in a nicely-printed box. The unit itself looks something like a digital theodolite. It’s designed to be used on a photographic tripod.

Alternatively, it can be attached to a Bench Mount, which is sold as a separate item. The Labradar unit screws into the 1/4-inch x 20 thread on top of the ball mount.

In order to be used with an airgun, there’s an accessory microphone kit that amplifies the sound. This is particularly necessary with silenced air rifles and allows the unit to sense the shot being fired. The Airgun Trigger Adapter clips to the side of the main unit in use.

For power, Labradar requires 6 x AA batteries. Alternatively it can be powered by a portable cellphone battery pack.

Labradar provides a readout of velocity on the built-in LCD screen. But the power of the system is really utilized to the full if it’s connected to a computer. In that way, a large amount of data can be downloaded into a spreadsheet for subsequent analysis and manipulation.

If you plan to use the computer download capability, you’ll also need to add additional memory. This takes the form of a SDHC card. This is the type of card that’s used to record photographs in digital cameras. Only a small capacity card is required for Labradar.

We found it possible to use an old, redundant, SDHC card from a disused digital camera. You may find the same. Just plug the card into the port in Labradar. After use, remove the card and insert it into a computer. (You may need an additional adapter to do this).

For airgun use, set your Labradar and Airgun Trigger Adapter microphone kit to one side of the muzzle. This records the Muzzle Velocity, as indicated by the instructions.

Because Labradar uses reflected radar waves from the pellet to determine its velocity, it can also be troubled by reflections from the walls and ceiling of a room. So this is a system best suited for outdoor use.

The Labradar Doppler Radar Chronograph - A Vital Tool For The Serious Airgunner

Our testing was undertaken in the open and also on an outdoor 55-yard rifle range. Like most rifle ranges, this one had a system of overhead baffles downrange to prevent wayward shooting. These baffles are supported by posts.

We tested Labradar in a lane next to the post supports. The system worked perfectly and was not disturbed by the baffles or posts, as we had suspected it might be. Our concern was that the radar waves would be reflected back from the baffles and posts, giving false readings. This did not happen!

Another concern we had for Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities was that it would not be able to detect the noise of a silenced air rifle. For this test, we used a Benjamin Marauder in .177 caliber – our “gold standard” for low noise levels. Again, no problem!

Even without being set to its most sensitive setting, we were able to get Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities from the Marauder without any issues.

The manufacturer’s specifications for Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities say that the maximum range is 30 yards. This is due to the small size of the pellet, not being able to reflect back enough of the radar waves at longer distances.

However, we had no problems with Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities at ranges out to 55 Yards. That’s nearly twice the manufacturer’s claims. Maybe it could even have functioned at even greater distances, but this was the length of the range at which we were shooting the test.

Labradar recorded the distance to the target on the 55 Yard range as being exactly 55.0 Yards. We double-checked this by using a digital rangefinder. This confirmed the range as being 55.0 Yards.

Incidentally, the system needs to be preset to record certain maximum and minimum velocities. There’s no specific “airgun” setting for muzzle velocities in Labradar, but the “Handgun” setting is ideal for our purposes covered the range from 246 FPS to 1,722 FPS.

The system’s display screen will show the Muzzle Velocity, plus pellet velocities at the other distances you have preset.

The built-in menu system works well. For example, you can preset distances to be 10, 20, 50, 40 50 Yards.

If you want to use Labradar to record airgun pellet velocities at almost foot-by-foot distances downrange, it can do that too. Labradar has the capability to record the data for each shot on the SDHC storage card. Using the SD card, the data for hundreds – or even thousands – of shots can be recorded and stored.

Again, we found that the SD card functionality worked well. We were able to take the Labradar data and download it into a PC. It then opened-up easily in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program, allowing for easy analysis and charting of the data, if required.

Not being PC users, we also tried to download the SD card data onto one of our Mac computers. This was less successful. Although the Mac could see the SD card, we were not able to download the data into the Apple Numbers spreadsheet program.

However, we did find a simple workaround. We copied the Excel file from the PC, loaded it into the Mac and were able to use the data in Apple Numbers by that route.

Really the only downsides to Labradar are the fact that it cannot be used in most indoor situations and that we found it will not detect .177 caliber alloy pellets. Why? Don’t ask us, it just doesn’t…

But neither of these downsides will be real limitations for most users. This is a great product!

The LCS SK-19 is a revolutionary PCP air rifle that will soon be available at Airguns of Arizona. It is a selective fire model which offers full auto and semi-automatic operation!

Coming Soon At AoA! The LCS SK-19 Full Auto Air Rifle

There’s a built-in 19-shot rotary magazine and Lothar Walther barrel with a choice of .22 and .25 calibers. The SK-19 is regulated, of course, giving a claimed 110 shots per fill in .22 cal and 90 in .25 caliber.

Coming Soon At AoA! The LCS SK-19 Full Auto Air Rifle

I have shot a SK-19. This gun certainly works! I found that brief dabs on the trigger gave accurate 3-5 shot bursts that were very controllable on the full auto setting.

Of course, the standout feature of this hammerless semi-auto and full auto air rifle is the high rate of fire! LCS Air Arms says that this air rifle can empty the 19-shot magazine in under 3 seconds. That’s a fire rate of around 6 shots per second in full auto mode.

The LCS SK-19 is claimed by the manufacturer to chamber the longest pellets and slugs in both .22 and .25 calibers without problems.

The barrels are supplied by Lothar Walther. They are covered with a carbon fiber style shroud and silencer for low muzzle report.

The regulator is adjustable using a small knob. This is located just above the rear of the 480cc carbon fiber HPA tank. Filling is by an industry-standard 1/8 Inch NPT quick disconnect.

There are two pressure gauges. One indicates the main tank pressure. The other shows the pressure of the regulated air.

Coming Soon At AoA! The LCS SK-19 Full Auto Air Rifle

In addition to adjusting the regulator, the power level can be altered using the wheel on the underside at the rear of the action.

As the LCS SK-19 utilizes a fixed magazine, safe gun handling is a priority! Of course – as with any gun – the emphasis must be on the shooter to be safe.

However, the manufacturer has provided this full auto air rifle with no less than two safeties. One doubles as the fire selector control, to switch between full auto and semi-auto mode.

Additionally, the design gives considerable access to the fixed magazine. After shooting, this mag can be rotated manually to check that it is completely empty and confirm clear.

The LCS Air Arms SK-19 full auto air rifle is being sold by Airguns of Arizona. They report that Muzzle Energy is up to 60 Ft/Lbs in .25 caliber. So this is also a powerful airgun.

In common with the tactical design of the gun, there are two Picatinny rails. The top one is for scope mounting, the lower for adding a bipod to the SK-19.

The bullpup design means that the SK-19 is fairly compact and not too heavy. Overall length is 35 Inches and weight 7.75 Lbs.

Finally, many potential customers will be pleased to hear that the SK-19 is assembled in the USA.

Currently, Airguns of Arizona is taking deposits for customer orders from the first delivery. I hear they’re going fast!

Register Now For Extreme Benchrest 2019. There’s Over $34,000 In Prize Value!

Airguns of Arizona has announced that this years’s Extreme Benchrest will take place from October 10 – 13, 2019. It’s going to be the best ever, says “Mister AoA”, Robert Buchanan!

The venue will be the Rio Salado Shooting Range in Mesa AZ, the range that has hosted the EBR for several years past.

Register Now For Extreme Benchrest 2019. There’s Over $34,000 In Prize Value!

And yes, EBR 2019 will have the highest Extreme Benchrest prize money ever. The total value of the prizes to be awarded will be over $34,000. Wow!

Register Now For Extreme Benchrest 2019. There’s Over $34,000 In Prize Value!

And there’s more…

The first 120 contestants to register for EBR 2019 will receive a free PhoneSkope riflescope adapter – a $175 value. That represents a $21,000 value above and beyond the highest Extreme Benchrest prize money ever!

As always, there’s a limit to the number of shooters who can participate in this famous annual airgun shooting event. So, if you want a chance of winning your share of this huge prize pot, it’s best to register now. You can sign-up online to attend Extreme Benchrest 2019 at this page.

The format of Extreme Benchrest 2019 will be familiar to many, but has some interesting new twists. Of course, there will be the 100 Yard Extreme Benchrest competition itself. There’s also a 50 yard Benchrest open class and 50 yard Benchrest Spring class.

Register Now For Extreme Benchrest 2019. There’s Over $34,000 In Prize Value!

Then there’s the Speed Silhouette and two Big Bore challenges, too. Plus the American Field Target competition. Oh, and an indoor pistol competition, too. Below, we see Tom Adams competing in American Field Target last year.

Register Now For Extreme Benchrest 2019. There’s Over $34,000 In Prize Value!

As usual, competitors for each course of fire are divided into “Pro” and “Sportsmans” classes. This gives the maximum opportunity for prize-winning, particularly for new competitors.

The One Gun Challenge is an additional attraction. For this, shooters must use the same gun, in the same caliber, with the same scope. Prizewinners will have the highest combined scores from the EBR, 50 Yard Benchrest, Speed Silhouette and American Field Target competitions.

For full details, check out the Extreme Benchrest website. There’s an online contact form available, should you have questions.

The 2018 Extreme Benchrest Pro class was won by Claudio Flores from Chile. He used a .22 caliber Brocock Bantam Sniper HP air rifle. That’s Claudio above. Who will win this year and with what air rifle? The best way to know is to be there and experience EBR 2019 yourself!

And did we mention that EBR 2019 will have the highest Extreme Benchrest prize money ever?

To get a feel for EBR, check out the 2018 Extreme Benchrest video review.

As always, the entire Airguns of Arizona team looks forward to seeing you there!

ART stands for Accuracy Research Team. It’s a Daystate team guided by strict approval and testing protocols. Its role is to improve, wherever possible, the accuracy and performance of Daystate’s products and to do it with passion!

Designing a complete new airgun barrel is a task not often attempted. It’s tough, laborious and time-consuming, involving multiple engineers, developers and testers – not to mention costly. For it’s not just engineering involved here: there’s a real art in shooting barrels under development and interpreting the results.

So to read this “inside story” on how a complete new airgun barrel designed is created and tested is a rare treat. Especially when that barrel is the product of one of airgun’s leading manufacturers – Daystate.

The first ART project had a goal that was simple yet tough. Develop the best airgun barrel on earth for accuracy at long ranges!

Below. The first Daystate model to feature the ART barrel is planned to be the new Red Wolf Safari. This was launched at the 2019 IWA Outdoor Classics exhibition in Germany. Robert Buchanan of AoA shows us the new gun at this show.

Below. The first Daystate model to feature the ART barrel is planned to be the new Red Wolf Safari.

ART Barrel Project Kickoff

It all started at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. This was the venue for a meeting including Daystate, and it’s US distributor Airguns of Arizona.

The discussion centered around longer and heavier pellets. These are being developed to take full advantage of the ever-increasing power of PCP air rifles marketed in the USA. With this increasing power comes demand for increased accuracy at ever longer ranges. It was felt that this effect was especially marked with larger calibers at higher muzzle energies.

The outcome of the meeting was agreement to develop a new long range, high power barrel for Daystate. This would be not only a multi-disciplinary team, but an international one as well, with participants in England, Italy and the USA. It would also require a significant investment in both time and tooling costs.

The project would be especially tough given the benchmark against which the new ART barrel would be measured. This was to be Daystate’s existing polygonal design, a barrel already known for its long range accuracy capabilities. 

ART In .177 And .22 Calibers

Based on the initial meeting, a run of barrels was produced with multiple different internal profiles: choke, length, bore diameter etc. Each profile was identified by a letter. To ensure objectivity in the testing stage, one profile was actually the current polygonal barrel, but the testers didn’t know which one!

This testing concluded that the performance of Daystate’s current, 17-inch match-grade .177 and .22 caliber barrels could not be improved for shooting lead pellets at power levels up to 45 Ft/Lbs. The excellent results achieved by high-power models in competitions such as the 2018 Extreme Benchrest and the US FT Championships (among others) reinforced that view.

However, the ART project did identify one opportunity. It seemed that improved performance in high power .25 caliber was possible. The team focused on this with a vengeance!

Below. It’s not easy to photograph the bore of a barrel. But this is what the ART Polygonal barrel looks like…

Daystate Brings ART To Producing A Great, New Airgun Barrel

ART in .25 Caliber

Both English and US testing teams now concentrated on testing .25 caliber barrels for long range accuracy and pellet tolerance.

This .25 caliber testing was undertaken with Daystate Red Wolf HP and Wolverine R HP air rifles, set to standard factory power levels. Each barrel was rigorously tested with the rifles fired from bags on a solid bench and also with an Atlas bi-pod attached.

The guns were shot indoors and outside at 50 and 100 yards. A wide range of popular pellets were tested. Everything was documented. Hundreds of hours were spent testing on multiple days and different weather conditions in this trans-Atlantic search for the most accurate and the least pellet sensitive .25 caliber barrel.

It was easy to eliminate half of the barrels. The tough work was sorting out the remainder as one day a barrel would shoot better than the next. A cleaning regiment was followed to ensure that science would dictate the results.

Below. Here’s a close-up view of the new Red Wolf Safari.

Daystate Brings ART To Producing A Great, New Airgun Barrel

Once the shooting tests had been completed, the results were compared. The results were identical on both sides of the Atlantic. Two of the barrel profiles showed the best performance.

But that was far from the end of the project!

ART Stage Two

All of the results were shared and discussed thoroughly. Then stage two began! Another run of 23-inch long, .25 caliber barrels was produced, using the two favored profiles with variations in choke.

Now the testing started all over again, but with ranges stretching out past 200 Yards. Interestingly, the best results did not come from indoor testing, but from shooting outdoors in light winds.

At 100 Yards, it was easy to stack pellet on pellet with the best barrels. Pellets were touching at 190 Yards range. This was exciting stuff for the test teams!

Below. The UK test team also had a little fun, such as hitting exploding targets at 100 Yards!

Daystate Brings ART To Producing A Great, New Airgun Barrel

Again, both US and English test results matched. The result was clear. The new Daystate ART .25 caliber barrel profile had been found.

This ART barrel is now a Daystate proprietary recipe and is being incorporated into future production plans. ART barrels can be retro-fitted into existing guns to provide current owners with the ultimate in accuracy, if required.

Of course, you will be able to buy ART barrel-fitted air rifles from Airguns of Arizona. I suggest you give them a phone call to find out the latest update on deliveries…

For ART, This Is Just The Beginning

Now the ART team is applying its passion and expertise to .303 caliber barrels. Look for the forthcoming .303 caliber Daystate Red Wolf Safari to be released with an ART barrel. There will be more airgun ART from Daystate in future!