Archive for the ‘Airguns’ Category

Coming Soon At AoA - The New Daystate Delta Wolf

That fuzzy photograph above is all we’re allowed to see of the forthcoming Daystate Delta Wolf!

Yes it’s SHOT Show time, but Daystate is teasing us with a major forthcoming product announcement. The Delta Wolf is going to be announced at the IWA Outdoor Classics show in Germany in March 2020.

Daystate says that the Delta Wolf represents over two years of design, planning and testing. It will introduce the company to the “Tactical” segment of the airgun market and is – Daystate assures us – destined to become the standard against which all others will be judged.

The Delta Wolf has been designed from the ground up to be the genesis of a new evolution for the PCP air rifle, says Daystate. The company also released a summary of some key features as follows:

  • Multi-caliber capabilities (.177, .22 cal., .25 cal and .30 caliber). Pre-set factory tunes for each caliber makes changing calibers easier than ever.
  • Customer tuning customization included without the need for a separate tool.
  • Huma regulated with computer interface and control for maximum power and shot count.
  • Newly-designed high capacity magazine system.
  • Daystate A.R.T. barrels. Two lengths available plus dedicated slug barrels. AoA experts have been involved in the development of this, as we’ve covered in this blog previously
  • Higher power output than previous Daystate models.
  • AR-15 compatible components.
  • Patent protected technology.

That’s all we know about the Daystate Delta Wolf right now. There’s obviously a lot more news to come at the full launch in Germany in March.

But one thing’s for certain. The team at AoA will have all of the information for you as soon as it’s available. They’ll have the product too asap. My advice is to start saying! The Daystate Delta Wolf is most unlikely to be cheap – but it’s certainly going to be an outstanding air rifle.

As soon as it arrives, you’ll find it here!

New Brocock XR Series Launched Today

The Brocock XR series is a new range of airguns from the British manufacturer. They’re being launched today!

Brocock XR
Brocock Sniper XR
Brocock Commander XR
Brocock Concept HR

The obvious change to current Brocock models is that there’s a sidelever action to replace the traditional bolt action. However, there’s many other subtle changes “under the hood”, as we’ll find out.

Below. We mounted a MTC Viper Pro 3-18 x 50 AO scope to a Brocock XR Sniper using UTG Pro rings.

New Brocock XR Series Launched Today

I first saw a prototype of the new Brocock sidelever breech assembly at the Extreme Benchrest competition in October 2019, but was sworn to secrecy about it.

Now we can reveal that this new sidelever action has extremely smooth operating characteristics. It certainly gives a sophisticated, quality feel to the cocking action pellet loading in the new Brocock XR series air rifles.

The tactical-style sidelever operating handle is “grippy” and easy to use. It’s also attractive and sits in an ergonomically-convenient position relative to the trigger.

New Brocock XR Series Launched Today

However, the new sidelever action is not the only improvement incorporated in the new XR series. Brocock says that there’s a number of technical improvements, including a revised hammer and valve assembly which increase power output and the number of consistent shots per fill.

In addition, the firing system has been refined with ultra-fine tolerances. There’s an improved trigger set-up from the factory, too.

Brocock says that the barrel now has an even higher level of finish to the bore.

Brocock XR series air rifles, save for the base XR model, include a HUMA regulator system. This system has been developed by the Dutch regulator specialists in conjunction with the Brocock team.

New Brocock XR Series Launched Today

All models in the new XR series include an on-the-fly power adjuster, 10-shot magazine, single shot tray, choked barrel, integral shrouded silencer and a match-feel adjustable trigger.

If you want to add a 0dB second stage silencer, that works, too…

For more details on these new Brocock air rifles, contact AoA. They’ll be more than happy to tell you all about them!

Coming Soon At AoA - The Umarex AirSaber

Just last month, we covered the Benjamin Pioneer AirBow. For some years this has been the primary arrow-shooting PCP airgun in the market. But now it’s being joined by the Airbow from Umarex – it will be shown to the airgun industry at the 2020 SHOT Show in Las Vegas next week!

AoA has their AirSaber delivery “en route” as this is being written. So give them a call to find out more and be in line for one as soon as they are available. They’ll be on this page if you prefer online ordering.

The AirSaber is somewhat less powerful than the Airbow. Also it is not regulated like its competitor. However it’s definitely powerful enough and it combines this with a higher shot count, lighter weight and better handling than the Airbow.

Oh, and it’s also less expensive. A lot less expensive…

Coming Soon At AoA - The Umarex AirSaber

The AirSaber is a bolt-action, arrow-firing PCP “arrow rifle” that will be available with a bundled Axeon Optics archery scope at a MSRP of $369.99. That includes three 350 Grain carbon fiber arrows with field points. It will also be available without the scope at an MSRP of $319.99.

Six-packs of Umarex Straight Flight Technology arrows will be available at a MSRP of $39.99.

Coming Soon At AoA - The Umarex AirSaber

The Umarex AirSaber PCP Arrow Rifle can be filled with High Pressure Air to a maximum of 3,625 PSI fill pressure. The company claims that will result in up to 25 effective shots per fill.

Maximum Muzzle Energy is specified as being up to 177.5 Ft/Lbs – that’s 478 FPS. As the AirSaber is not regulated, we’ll look at some power/shot count testing below. This information should help new owners understand the impact of falling pressure as successive arrows are fired.

Coming Soon At AoA - The Umarex AirSaber

There’s a two-stage trigger, manual safety and olive green synthetic thumbhole stock. Picatinny rails are provided on top of the breech for scope mounting. There are three further short rails around the forend as accessory mounting points.

Filling with air is facilitated by a fill probe with built-in male quick disconnect. The pressure gauge is sensibly located in the underside of the stock, ahead of the trigger. This is one of the best locations for a pressure gauge on any PCP air rifle as it avoids the necessity to “look down the barrel” to check pressure, as it the case with end-mounted gauges.

The Umarex AirSaber PCP Arrow Rifle is loaded by inserting an arrow from the “muzzle” end of the gun – while the safety is on “safe”, of course. The Umarex arrows are supplied with field points, but broadheads can easily be fitted , if preferred.

Coming Soon At AoA - The Umarex AirSaber

Using the Labradar doppler radar system, we fired the AirSaber and recorded the velocities downrange.

That enabled us to calculate the Muzzle Energy developed by the Umarex AirSaber, together with the remaining Kinetic Energy downrange. We took 10 shots…

In the chart below, the Muzzle Energy is shown by the blue line. The green line indicates the energy at 10 Yards, orange shows the power at 20 Yards and the red line the remaining energy at 30 yards.

Coming Soon At AoA - The Umarex AirSaber

So we see that that first shot produced no less than 184 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy. At 30 Yards, 164.8 Ft/Lbs of energy was still possessed by the flying arrow!

To give a guide to the range of game that can be harvested – where legal – by the AirSaber, Umarex has produced the graphic below. This indicates that this arrow-firing PCP is capable of dealing with even with the toughest game – especially when firing at a high fill pressure.

Accuracy was very good. Every shot we made at 40 yards would have been a one-shot kill on an animal the size of a White Tail deer (with a 6 – 7 Inch kill zone). However, the constantly-falling Muzzle Velocity meant that the shooter needed to adjust the point of aim as the shot count built up.

This means that practice will be needed to obtain consistent accuracy in the field – particularly if firing many shots. Fortunately, most hunters are unlikely to take many shots at one time, so this ever-falling point of impact is less likely to be an issue.

Overall, the Umarex AirSaber is a capable arrow-firing PCP airgun that’s great value for money. Call your buddies at AoA to reserve yours!

The Weihrauch HW100 Bullpup was first shown at the 2019 IWA OutdoorClasics trade show in Germany. Now it’s arrived in the USA and we are looking at one of the first guns received by Airguns of Arizona.

The Weihrauch HW100 BP - It's An Absolute Gem!

Perhaps surprisingly, the Weihrauch HW100 Bullpup is a version of the HW100, with its metal receiver. It’s not based on the more recent HW110 which has a synthetic receiver. It’s available in both .177 and .22 calibers and also in short and long versions.

The carbine version features a shorter barrel, together with a smaller HPA cylinder. This will mean less power and a lower number of shots. However the upside is to be found in the outstanding handling available in this compact package.

The Weihrauch HW100 BP - It's An Absolute Gem!

For testing, we mounted an MTC Viper Pro 3-18 x 50 scope using Leapers UTG Pro rings. There’s a choice of scope-mounting options. Regular airgun grooves are machined in the top of the receiver. However a separate Picatinny rail is screwed screwed onto it by default. We chose to use this for our scope mounting.

We also attached an UTG TBNR bipod to the short, removable Picatinny rail under the forend.

The Weihrauch HW100 BP - It's An Absolute Gem!

The Weihrauch HW100 Bullpup has a mid-mounted sidelever action. It’s located – as expected – on the right side of the gun and is conveniently located near to the trigger blade.

The Weihrauch HW100 BP - It's An Absolute Gem!

The HW100 Bullpup is supplied with a Weihrauch-manufactured silencer permanently-attached to the barrel. It also comes complete with two magazines, a fill probe and degassing tools. The HPA tank is removable – it unscrews like that of other Weihrauch PCPs. The front lower Picatinny rail is also supplied separately, with its fixing screws.

The Weihrauch HW100 BP - It's An Absolute Gem!

The trigger of the Weihrauch HW100 Bullpup Carbine is a two-stage design. The pull weight averaged just 14.7 Oz in the sample we tested. The first stage was very light. However – despite the light pull weight – the “stop” for the second stage was very easy to feel. Release was then clean and precise.

All bullpup air rifles with a mechanical trigger separate the trigger and sear assemblies with a long rod. This is seen in the photograph below for the Weihrauch HW100 BP Carbine with the HPA tank removed. 

The Weihrauch HW100 BP - It's An Absolute Gem!

Overall, the short length (23 Inches) and compact design make this new air rifle a delight to handle. The Weihrauch HW100 Bullpup Carbine shoulders well and is fast and easy to bring onto aim.

This is enhanced by the molded pistol grip which – like that on other Weihrauch PCPs – is outstandingly comfortable and obviously designed with considerable care. The trigger guard has cut outs on either side. These position the user’s trigger finger safely away from contact with the trigger, yet leave it as close as possible for rapid access when ever a shot need to be taken.

The Weihrauch HW100 BP - It's An Absolute Gem!

The Weihrauch HW100 BP Carbine is an individualist’s air rifle. It’s not trying to offer the most power, highest shot count or maximum versatility. What it does offer, however, is superlative quality of manufacture, outstanding handling and huge practicality. It combines this with excellent accuracy and enough power for most users. And it does it with great style!

If you’re looking for a light, quiet, compact PCP air rifle that’s “out of the box ready” with the minimum of fuss, the Weihrauch HW100 Bullpup Carbine definitely fits the bill. And it’s available at Airguns of Arizona now!

The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow is the airgun that made arrow-firing PCPs a big deal. Having no personal backround in archery – I’ve never even fired a bow! – it was interesting for me to try shooting an Airbow and, in particular, to discover how it performs downrange.

Let's Look At The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow

The Airbow is a very close relative of the Benjamin Bulldog .357 caliber air rifle that we mentioned in the previous post. Apart from the fact that it shoots arrows instead of slugs, the main differences are that the Airbow has a vertical cocking lever…

Let's Look At The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow

… and the pressure gauge is at the front of the HPA tube, being filled by a probe – very unusual for a Crosman/Benjamin product.

Let's Look At The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow

Over time, the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow has become legal for use in a number of states for a variety of game. The Crosman website gives an interactive map showing the species that it’s legal to harvest in each state. Here’s how it looks for Coyotes and predators, for example.

Let's Look At The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow

But how does the Airbow perform downrange? To answer this question, I recently shot a well-used airbow in a cold (35 degrees F), snowy upstate New York day. It was typical deer hunting weather, but I was shooting targets.

Using a Labradar doppler radar system, I measured not only the muzzle velocity, but also the velocity of the arrow downrange. The target was set at 40 Yards – representing typical deer hunting range – and Labradar measured the velocity every 10 Yards downrange.

Here’s the result…

Let's Look At The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow

This graph shows the average reading from nine shots. Crosman says to expect eight consistent shots from an Airbow, but this one gave nine! As we can see, the muzzle velocity averaged 446 FPS and dropped to 405 FPS out at 40 Yards downrange.

More important is what happened to the kinetic energy of the arrows. The average arrow weight in this test was 373.7 Grains (Crosman specs are for 375 Grains, so that’s pretty close).

As we can see, the muzzle energy of the test Airbow was 165.1 Ft/Lbs. It fell to a 152 Ft/Lbs at 20 yards but still gave a whopping 136.1 Ft/Lbs at our 40 yard target. That’s plenty powerful for a wide variety of large game.

Let's Look At The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow

Accuracy? Well, as mentioned, I’ve never shot anything like the Airbow before. But every shot I took – including the first – hit within a 6-inch radius of the aim point. That’s clearly good enough to bring home the venison!

Airguns of Arizona stocks the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow. If you’re interested, they’d love to tell you more about it!

Slugs Are Here To Stay!

For some time, there’s been a move towards the use of slugs for long-range airgun shooting. Now that’s gathering momentum, with more manufacturers entering the arena and more shooters discovering their benefits.

But what do we mean by slugs?

Simply put, they are solid, un-waisted airgun projectiles. Unlike the traditional diabolo pellets which we know and love, slugs are shaped something like firearm bullets. They’re basically cylindrical, with a pointed nose, parallel sides and a flat (-ish) base.

In fact, there has been some confusion about what to call them. Sometimes they’ve been called bullets, but slugs – not to be confused with shotgun slugs, of course – has now become the standard name.

So slugs it is. But what is leading to their popularity and why now?

Basically the cause is the rapid development of technology and capability in PCP air rifles and their support systems. We’re experiencing significant increases in air rifle power as designers perfect valve and regulator systems. High Pressure Air brings the potential for power and that potential is being used more efficiently than ever before in new air rifle designs.

As the power potential of PCP air rifles has increased, so has the caliber. Larger calibers are essential to transmit the power inherent in large volumes of High Pressure Air, so no longer is .22 – or even .25 caliber seen as a “large” bore diameter for air rifles. Now we have .30 cal, .375, .45 caliber and above.

Slugs Are Here To Stay!

Of course it’s true that big bore – say about .30 caliber like the Benjamin Bulldog above – airguns have a long and honorable history. But in the past they were generally hand-built, custom pieces built in vanishingly small numbers for specialist, enthusiast users. Now that’s changed.

These big bore calibers are available as standard product from multiple manufacturers in mass-production build quantities. Customer demand has expanded to match supply. Although few PCPs – let alone big bore PCPs – have yet penetrated the “big box” chain sporting goods stores, they are increasingly strong in specialist online stores – like AoA, of course – where most knowledgeable airgunners make their purchases.

Below, the Huben K1 works well with slugs.

Slugs Are Here To Stay!

This means that .177 PCP air rifle sales are in relative decline. Let’s think about that for a moment…

Apart from specific target shooting disciplines, the fact is that less and less people are buying .177 caliber PCPs! Even .22 cal. is threatened as more and more airgun shooters consider .25 caliber and above to be the “new normal” for PCPs.

Large caliber PCPs use vast amounts of High Pressure Air. So – guess what? – this demand has been met by a growing number of HPA compressors at ever-lower prices. Think Omega Trail Charger, for example. Lower-priced, more available compressor technology encourages more shooters to move to PCPs.

What we have here is a technology-driven “virtuous cycle” of improvement in airgun performance, price and power. With this technology shift has come the desire to use the capability of increasingly-capable PCP air rifles to shoot at ever-increasing distances.

So we see more and more interest in competitions such as Extreme Benchrest, with airgun target shooting out to 100 Yards.

Slugs Are Here To Stay!

Such long range shooting blows the capabilities of .177 caliber completely out of the water. Ditto for springers, of course.

All of which focuses attention on the projectile…

As high power, long-range, HPA-powered airgun performance becomes ever better, there’s a natural demand for improved ammunition to maximize the capabilities of the hardware. Basically, the need is for heavier projectiles that can absorb the increasing power available in larger caliber PCPs at velocities that – preferably – remain subsonic (less than say 1,100 FPS).

With this comes demand for a Ballistic Coefficient that’s superior to anything that can be achieved with the traditional wasp-waisted diabolo pellet for long-range accuracy.

That is leading to experimentation with non-traditional airgun pellet designs and a move towards cylindrical, non-waisted airgun ammunition. Yes, we’re back to slugs!

So should I shoot pellets or slugs? That’s a question being asked by many owners of high power PCP air rifles right now. Airguns of Arizona gives you a choice because they carry both pellets and slugs – with a steadily-increasing range of the latter.

Slugs Are Here To Stay!

As with many things in life, the answer is not always clear, however…

One thing that’s apparent is that slugs can be appreciably more accurate at long ranges than diabolo pellets. This is confirmed by the rules for Extreme Benchrest, for example. Slugs are not permitted to be used.

The accuracy benefit of slugs is found particularly in their resistance to changing wind conditions. At least compared to a traditional diabolo airgun pellet.

But this improved long-range accuracy potential is not a given for any air rifle. Firstly, you need a powerful air rifle: say 40 Ft/Lbs muzzle energy for a minimum. This – in itself – rules-out .177 caliber as a viable slug caliber and further drives the move to .22 caliber and above.

Then you need a barrel that works well with slugs.

Being designed for the ballistic characteristics of traditional waisted pellets, it’s hardly surprising to discover that many airgun barrels do not give good performance with the completely different ballistic characteristics of slugs. This means that airgun manufacturers are working on the development of barrel profiles optimized for slug use.

Here we have another technology cycle in the making, based around barrel and slug design. Daystate is one company leading the charge towards new barrel designs, as we’ve discussed on a previous occasion.

So far, we’ve talked about slugs in the context of accurate – primarily target – shooting. But realistically, it needs to be recognized that competitive airgun target shooting in any form – benchrest, Field Target, 10 Meter etc – involves a relatively small number of airgun shooters, compared to the number who hunt.

Slugs Are Here To Stay!

For hunters, the overwhelming requirement is to deliver the maximum amount of kinetic energy downrange for an ethical, single-shot knockdown. Pinpoint accuracy, while important, is (just) the secondary requirement, particularly if you’re aiming to take down a bear or buffalo – as is now becoming possible with the most powerful big bore air rifles, like the Western Big Bore Bushbuck, for example.

In this case, there’s no competition! The Ballistic Coefficient of slugs is far superior to anything that can be achieved with diabolo pellets. That means more energy further downrange, combined with less susceptibility to wind. Providing practical accuracy is acceptable, slugs are the obvious answer.

So, while long range competitive shooting is the headline-grabbing area of slug development and shooting right now, in the long run, it’s the capabilities of slugs for hunting that will drive their broader adoption across the country.

Slugs? They’re here to stay!

SIGAIR continues to bring items to the marketplace not expected from this relatively new player to the airgun space. One such item is their new Super Target ASP Precision Line .177 air pistol, an all metal match-grade single-shot pneumatic that is designed to be highly accurate. Made in Italy for SIG AIR, the Super Target will make an excellent entry-level air pistol for 10-meter competitions and is solidly built so that it is equally at home in the backyard plinking away at cans or other targets. It’s a large pistol sporting a 7.5-inch rifled barrel and classically styled black walnut grips, with an overall length of 11 inches and weighing in at 48 ounces. The overall look will seem familiar to SIG fans as it resembles the well-known P210 firearm. A fully adjustable two-stage trigger offers multiple options to customize the pull weight and length. Out of the box the trigger broke at the featherweight of 2pounds 5.3 ounces. Rated muzzle velocity is up to 330fps. Being an adult Match Precision Airgun as defined by the U.S. ASTM standards (F589) it is exempt from the 3-pound minimum trigger pull and drop test requirements.

To ready for firing, the exposed hammer-style catch is pulled back and the top of the receiver pulled up an over until it is fully extended. A quality pellet such as the SIG branded Match Ballistic Alloy Flat Head is inserted directly into the breech. The manual suggests best results will be with flathead pellets under 8 grains. With only about 7/8ths inch space between the breech face and the back end of the receiver, a ham-fist like me has to have patience when getting that .177 pellet started. Younger shooters or those with small fingers will definitely have an advantage when loading. Once the pellet is placed, the top of the receiver is brought back to its original position being mindful of pinch points. Similar to other fine air pistols designed for indoor precision shooting, the Super Target has no safeties of any kind. So, keep those fingers out of the trigger guard until you are up to the shooting line and ready to fire! I realize this is standard advice for anything that is capable of launching a projectile; it cannot be stressed enough.

The Super Target comes in a premium hard-plastic pistol case with an egg crate foam lining. Along with the gun is a hex wrench used for making the trigger adjustments, an extra O-ring breech seal and the Operator’s Manual. The manual is printed in English, French, Spanish and German and contains excellent color images depicting loading, firing and sight adjustment. When storing the Super Target for any length of time it is recommended that the receiver top be left slightly open to protect the seals. The provided pistol case allows ample room for this method. The pistol comes with a 5-year warranty and in my experience, SIG’s support has been outstanding. The list price comes in at $359.99 and AofA has them on their website at $349.  As always, they can also assist with any accessories you may need so if you’d like to get into 10-meter shooting and on the path to the Olympics, or just have a high-quality plinker that you can shoot off your back porch, reach out to AofA. Next post will contain feedback on how it performed.

SIG AIR’s entry into the 10 meter game.

Big news from Extreme Benchrest 2019 is that Airguns of Arizona will be selling the American Air Arms range of PCPs!

Available Now At Airguns Of Arizona - The EVOL 22 PCP Air Rifle

American Air Arms is a relatively new company that has been steadily growing its range of PCP air rifles. As is implied by the company name, these are completely designed and manufactured in the USA. Precision CNC manufacturing systems are used to create most parts and US-produced materials are utilized wherever possible.

Available Now At Airguns Of Arizona - The EVOL 22 PCP Air Rifle

For example, the receivers are made from 7075 high strength Aluminum. The HPA tubes (max fill pressure 4,000 PSI) are manufactured from Titanium.

The aim is to produce a durable, high quality product that really performs and which really is Made in America!

At this year’s Extreme Benchrest competition, a number of American Air Arms EVOL 22 air rifles were to be found down the firing line.

Available Now At Airguns Of Arizona - The EVOL 22 PCP Air Rifle

For example, last year’s Extreme Benchrest Pro Class winner Claudio Flores was shooting one. That’s Claudio, above.

AAA’s President, Tom Costan was out there too, making holes in paper at long range and scoring well (below).

I spoke to Tom and he explained that his idea for AAA airguns is to make a really solid, heavy duty product that’s able to take a huge amount of use – both for competition and hunting.

Tom also confirmed to me that Airguns of Arizona is carrying the EVOL Line, with the Slayer planned to be added in future. At first both companies will concentrate their efforts on the EVOL 22 mini and TAC 30 models, he said, to avoid being spread too thin by demand.

Here’s Tom with his creations…

Available Now At Airguns Of Arizona - The EVOL 22 PCP Air Rifle

AoA received their first shipment of EVOL air rifles in September and they should be shown on the web site very soon, Tom continued.

In the meantime, you can phone AoA to find out more information about their new EVOL line. The number’s 480-461-1113, if it’s not already memorized on your phone for some reason!

Tom also explained that he designed the EVOL with a robust, regulated sidelever repeater action in .22, .25 and .30 calibers. He has matched this with a high precision, hammer forged chrome moly tensioned barrel system. The whole gun is perfectly matched, he said, providing the most consistent velocities required for extreme accuracy.

Tom is particularly proud that the EVOL’s barrel is firmly threaded into the receiver for maximum rigidity. Unlike other designs that use set-screws for barrel location, the EVOL’s threaded barrel can’t be knocked out of alignment during demanding field use, he says.

American Air Arms also had a demo range slot at EBR. This gave any shooter the opportunity to examine and try out the EVOL 22 and TAC 30 models. I tried one myself and found it very pleasant to shoot.

Available Now At Airguns Of Arizona - The EVOL 22 PCP Air Rifle

These EVOL guns certainly gave me a feeling of durability. They’re lighter than they look. I particularly liked the way that the HPA pressure gauge at the end of the tube is faced to one side. (The left, actually). Now you can check the pressure on an end gauge without having to “look down the barrel”!

The AAA Slayer big bore guns were also performing well in the Production Big Bore Class. Terry Eanetta placed second using one, while Stephen Marsh (below) secured third place.

So – with this development – we can expect to see EVOL air rifles become much more common among shooters. Look out for them at Extreme Benchrest 2020!

Those familiar with airguns probably already know something about the Swiss-German-American conglomerate SIG SAUER coming to the table in a big way just three short years ago with their Advanced Sport Pellet (ASP) line.  SIG made a full commitment to produce high quality, fully functioning replicas of their world-famous firearms. That commitment hasn’t waned and they have gone whole hog by introducing their SIGAIR division and are now bringing all airgun production in-house to their New Hampshire plant.

A well made and excellent break-barrel.

If you are familiar with SIGAIR products, you may know about the ASP20 break-barrel rifle, SIG’s first foray into the break-barrel realm. As usual with a new product introduction, there is a lot of build-up and hype and this air rifle really lives up to the hype. Purpose built from the ground up, being designed and built entirely in the U.S., engineers from SIG’s firearms division helped on it and the final product utilizes a trigger that came out of SIG firearm technology.  It is a magnum class air rifle generating 23 foot-pounds of energy and one parameter the engineers were tasked with was making the cocking force more like a non-magnum break-barrel. The goal was accomplished with their proprietary GuideLight mechanism. The cocking force averages about 33 pounds as opposed to 40 or more in other magnums. Another unique feature came out of the mandate to make the lockup more solid and prevent barrel droop – an inherent break-barrel problem. The result was a keystone shaped design to the breech with tapered wings on each side of the receiver. They come together to form a solid lock-up like no other. To further aid accuracy, both parts are drilled for the pivot pin as one unit. SIG still wasn’t done. The MatchLite trigger used in the ASP20 is optimized at the factory to a three to four-pound pull. My sample averaged slightly under that at two pounds, 11.9 ounces out of the box. It is still user-adjustable and the tools are provided with the rifle. The trigger is straight with a smooth face, reminiscent of the trend in modern long-range precision rifles.

On top of all this, the finish on the ASP20 is the same matte-back Nitron as used on SIG firearms. The wood stocked model tested would best be described as striking; finished in a grey color that compliments the matte-black. The fit and finish were some of the best you’ll find with laser stippling in all the right places. The ambidextrous stock also features a straight pistol grip. It is a bit heavy at nine pounds without optics, but balances so well it doesn’t feel that heavy in the hands.

SIG is striving to be a “complete solution provider”, that is, supply the marketplace with the entire package from ammunition to training (through the SIG SAUER Academy) and everything in between. If their name is on it, then they control the quality all the way through. To this end, SIG sells their own branded pellets and CO2, targets, safety gear and the Whiskey3 ASP 4-12x44mm airgun scope. This gun is meant to be scoped as it only comes with a section of picatinny rail and no iron sights.

It performed as expected with excellent accuracy using everything from lightweight alloys to pellets weighing 34 grains, only requiring adjustment to holdunder or holdover. Of course, SIG pellets are recommended and the rifle liked their Wraith Pb pellets the best.

Being a magnum springer, the kick was strong and it is somewhat loud even with a suppressor permanently mounted on the muzzle. It was not obnoxious, nor does it require hearing protection if shooting outdoors.

              Warranted for five years, the ASP20 carries an MSRP of $429.99 in wood. Check it out over at the AofA website.

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…