Syn City

Phill Price tries out the SYN XS78 Tac­ti­cal multi-shot from SMK

Airgun World - - Contents -

From where I sit, there are two fast-grow­ing trends in the lower end of the air­gun mar­ket at the mo­ment. The first is the ‘tac­ti­cal’ trend, which seems to mean that if you can paint it black and add some vis­ual sug­ges­tion of a mil­i­tary con­nec­tion, you’ve made it tac­ti­cal. I joked with a friend re­cently that it’s only a mat­ter of time un­til we see tac­ti­cal un­der­pants when he laughed and said, “Too late. They’re al­ready on sale from some Amer­i­can cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers.”

The other trend is for com­plete pack­ages that de­liver the ri­fle, scope and mounts, plus a few de­sir­able ac­ces­sories such as a bi­pod or a si­lencer. Shop own­ers tell me that these are pop­u­lar be­cause they take away lots of un­cer­tainty for the new buyer. The one box con­tains ev­ery­thing they need, so they can buy with­out un­nec­es­sary stress.

Sports­mar­ket­ing clearly sees the same trends as I do be­cause the snap­pily-named ‘SYN XS78 Tac­ti­cal Mul­tishot CO2 Ri­fle’ en­com­passes all the afore­men­tioned char­ac­ter­is­tics in one neat bun­dle. At its heart is a sim­ple bolt-ac­tion, CO2-pow­ered ri­fle, en­hanced by a clamp-on, 9-shot (in .22) mag­a­zine. On top, SMK pro­vides a ba­sic 4 x 32 scope with a du­plex ret­i­cle. This has no par­al­lax ad­just­ment or il­lu­mi­na­tion, which helps to keep the costs down. It’s held in sin­gle-bolt rings that have thumb wheel fix­ings rather than socket head bolts. I think this is

done to add to the tac­ti­cal ap­peal.

SYN­THETIC STOCK

The SYN part of the name refers to the syn­thetic thumb­hole stock that has more swoops, curves, lumps and bumps than I’ve ever seen on one stock. There are even vent slots in the fore end that you’d have on a firearm to help the bar­rel cool from long strings of fire. Un­der­neath the fore end there’s a sec­tion of Weaver rail bolted on to ac­cept ac­ces­sories such as the fold­ing alu­minium bi­pod sup­plied with the kit. This has legs that ex­tend from 8” to 10” with a rather sud­den ac­tion as you loosen the lock­ing col­lars.

On top of the sin­gle-shot ac­tion there’s a clamp-on mag­a­zine holder that’s like none I’ve ever see be­fore. It’s made from a flex­i­ble syn­thetic ma­te­rial and clamps around the up­per ac­tion and over­laps the load­ing port. It holds 9-shots in the .22 cal­i­bre that I was sent. Un­like most mag­a­zine sys­tems I’ve seen, it’s man­u­ally in­dexed so you need to lift the bolt and with­draw it, turn the mag­a­zine drum and then close the bolt. This is clearly much quicker and eas­ier than sin­gle-load­ing pel­lets, but not as slick as auto-load­ing sys­tems. Per­haps the must un­usual fea­ture of

this ri­fle is the ex­tra­or­di­nary

‘si­lencer’ which is truly huge. It mea­sures 11” long and 1¾” in di­am­e­ter and has long deep cut-outs all around the muz­zle end. It’s moulded onto the bar­rel so I was un­able to look in­side to see how it works. The part that I thought would be the ex­pan­sion cham­ber is 4” long, but I looked back from the muz­zle and could see no ports that might al­low high pres­sure gas to en­ter voids to de­cel­er­ate the flow.

POWER

Power is sup­plied by two 12-gramme CO2 cap­sules loaded back-to-back in the cylin­der be­neath the bar­rel. This set-up should ex­tend the num­ber of shots per fill greatly, although not in­crease the power – as the chrono­graph showed me.

I tested the ri­fle on a pleas­antly warm day so the power read­ings I got were prob­a­bly as close to max­i­mum as we’re like to see from any CO2-pow­ered gun. I chose to use the Rem­ing­ton Thun­der Field Tar­get Tro­phy pel­let which weighs 14.6 grains in the tin I have. Av­er­age ve­loc­ity was 420 feet per sec­ond, which cal­cu­lates to just over 5.7ft.lbs. – plenty of power for tin-can bash­ing in your back gar­den.

It was also ac­cu­rate enough for ca­sual tar­get shoot­ing and plink­ing at mod­est ranges. I was able to get 1” groups at 20 yards with the oc­ca­sional flyer, shoot­ing off a bench with the tri­pod sup­plied.

TRIG­GER PER­FOR­MANCE

As with most guns in this price range, the trig­ger was a con­trol­ling fac­tor in ac­cu­rate shoot­ing. Although it was quite light for a gun in this class, it was long and dif­fi­cult to pre­dict, mak­ing con­sis­tent re­lease chal­leng­ing. The safety lever is on the front of the trig­ger guard on the right of the ac­tion. It ap­peals to me in that it dis­con­nects the trig­ger blade from the ac­tion com­pletely, which is more se­cure than just block­ing a lever el­e­ment.

This is cer­tainly a dra­matic-look­ing gun and with its mod­est price and light weight, I can see it ap­peal­ing to young­sters with a yearn­ing to be a sniper when they grow up. They could prac­tise all the skills of shoot­ing prone off a bi­pod, through a scope, and the re­coil­less na­ture of a CO2-pow­ered ac­tion helps shot place­ment with­out need­ing to con­sider the com­pli­ca­tions of man­ag­ing a spring-pow­ered ac­tion. As a ‘tac­ti­cal pack­age’ there are few to com­pare.

This is a dra­matic-look­ing ri­fle from any an­gle.

It’s a small, light gun, best suited to young­sters.

In­ter­est­ingly, the bolt cocks on the for­ward stroke.

The mag­a­zine sys­tem clamps around the ac­tion.

Is that the big­gest ‘si­lencer’ you’ve ever seen?

A short sec­tIon of Weaver rail ac­cepts the bi­pod sup­plied. I was im­pressed by how the safety dis­con­nects the trig­ger.

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