Ef­fort­less Plink­ing

Phill Price reviews the CR600W from SMK

Airgun World - - Contents -

“It’s light­weight, well bal­anced, re­coil­less, quiet and very af­ford­able”

Isome­times think it’s a shame that CO2 ri­fles don’t get the credit they de­serve. In many ways, they of­fer the ad­van­tages of a pre-charged pneu­matic (PCP) ri­fle with­out the cost and has­sle of a dive bot­tle or pump fill­ing sys­tem. They’re re­coil­less and with a sound mod­er­a­tor fit­ted, al­most silent in use. Okay, they’re not as pow­er­ful as top-class PCPs and ul­ti­mately prob­a­bly not as ac­cu­rate, but in many ap­pli­ca­tions those things aren’t the most im­por­tant fac­tors in your buy­ing de­ci­sion. A CO2 ri­fle can be light, boast a multi-shot ac­tion and re­quire al­most no phys­i­cal ef­fort to shoot. They re­ally do need to be con­sid­ered on your short­list of new plink­ing guns.

SWEET

Take the sweet lit­tle SMK CR600W on test. It’s light­weight, well bal­anced, re­coil­less, quiet and very af­ford­able. I’ve re­cently re­ceived a num­ber of emails from read­ers who, be­cause of age or dis­abil­ity, have found PCPs eas­ier to en­joy than spring-pow­ered guns. They sim­ply could not cock full-power springers any more, and were fed up with deal­ing with a re­coil­ing gun’s finicky na­ture. Hit­ting their tar­get was what mat­tered and a re­coil­less gun made that hap­pen for them. A CO2 ri­fle might have made that hap­pen at a much lower cost.

TOP VALUE

What do you get from the CR600W for £180? A sleek, wooden-stocked sporter with an ac­tion that has a sin­gle-shot tray and a multi-shot mag­a­zine, all cy­cled by a side-mounted bolt. Power is sup­plied by the ubiq­ui­tous 12 gramme CO2 cap­sule which lives in a tubu­lar hous­ing run­ning par­al­lel be­low the bar­rel. This has a novel set-up the likes of which I’ve never seen be­fore. To ‘gas-up’ the ac­tion you un­screw the steel end cap and tip the ri­fle muz­zle down, af­ter which a long plas­tic spacer will fall out into your hand. Next, drop a CO2 cap­sule ‘neck’ down into the hous­ing and then drop the spacer in be­hind. Screw the end cap on

“I’d have no qualms about tack­ling rats and feral pi­geons with this smart lit­tle ri­fle”

firmly (read ‘as tight as hand pres­sure will al­low’) and af­ter check­ing that there is no pel­let in the bar­rel, point the ri­fle in a safe di­rec­tion and pull the trig­ger. You might be dis­ap­pointed to hear noth­ing but the ham­mer fall, but don’t worry. Tighten the end cap again and re­peat. You should get a sat­is­fy­ing blast of CO2 from the muz­zle.

EX­TRA SHOTS

For shoot­ers on the move, the plas­tic spacer in the gas reser­voir can be re­placed with two un­opened 12 gramme cap­sules, keep­ing them on hand when the first one fit­ted runs out. This adds greatly to the shot count. I tested the CR600W with one of the pel­lets sup­plied by SMK, the Rem­ing­ton Thun­der Sniper Light, which weighs 14.4 grains. I hoped that this would give use­ful ve­loc­ity, which it did. Av­er­age ve­loc­ity on a 10°C day was 525 fps for 8.9ft.lbs. of muz­zle en­ergy. How­ever, when I tested the ri­fle for ac­cu­racy it couldn’t quite match my old standby, the RWS Su­per­dome. This pel­let has been around a very long time, and I won­der if its di­men­sions are well matched for Far East­ern-made bar­rels that I guess are made to old-fash­ioned di­men­sions. What­ever, they gave a neat ½” group at 20 yards, and many more ex­pen­sive guns would be en­vi­ous of that.

ENOUGH POWER

Nine ft.lbs. is plenty pow­er­ful enough for pest con­trol du­ties around build­ings, and I’d have no qualms about tack­ling rats and feral pi­geons with this smart lit­tle ri­fle. The trig­ger’s move­ment was quite long and lacked a de­fined re­lease point, but af­ter a while I came to read it well enough. It’s bet­ter than most guns at this price point and noth­ing that would put me off hit­ting my tar­get.

VERY HIGH MOUNTS!

SMK sup­plied one of their 3-9 x 40 scopes in very high mounts, which were nec­es­sary be­cause of the open sights fit­ted. The rear sight unit sits on top of the bridge that sup­ports the bar­rel from the gas reser­voir. This places it ex­actly where the ob­jec­tive bell sits, forc­ing the use of high mounts to clear it. If this gun were mine, I’d re­move the open sights and use much lower scope mounts. This would im­prove the han­dling of the ri­fle and give a much bet­ter con­nec­tion be­tween my face and the stock’s cheek piece. It is pos­si­ble to see the open sights through the open­ings in the mounts, but only just, and I don’t see their use as a prac­ti­cal op­tion with the scope fit­ted.

I think this is a great lit­tle gun, well suited to back-gar­den plink­ing, es­pe­cially for lightly-built shoot­ers who don’t want to wres­tle a heavy ri­fle. I’d use lower mounts and add a proper si­lencer to make it nice and quiet so as not to an­noy my neigh­bours. It’s great value for money and fun to shoot, to boot, so why not con­sider a CO2 ri­fle on your next pur­chase? I

Above: De­spite the light weight the CR600W felt steady on aim.

Be­low: Ex­tra-high mounts are needed to get the scope above the rear sight.

Above: A sin­gle-shot tray and a mag­a­zine are in­cluded.

Be­low: The plas­tic spacer can be re­placed with ex­tra cap­sules if you like.

Above: The cross bolt safety is easy to use.

Above: The muz­zle weight is said to of­fer some noise su­pres­sion.

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