Air Arms Pro­to­type

Terry gets his hands on the pro­to­type S510TDR from Air Arms

Airgun World - - Contents -

Like most suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies within our sport, Air Arms takes great pains to gather as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble from its cus­tomers. It does this in a num­ber of ways, not least by at­tend­ing shows with a full com­ple­ment of staff and speak­ing to air­gun­ners face-to-face. Over the course of a year, Air Arms’ staff speak to thou­sands of air­gun shoot­ers and the com­pany’s tele­phone and email pro­vides a con­duit down which travel many thou­sands more views, ex­pe­ri­ences, re­quests, sug­ges­tions and crit­i­cisms, all of which are noted for con­sid­er­a­tion. In ad­di­tion to all this, I pass on ev­ery ex­am­ple of Air Arms-re­lated in­put from the read­ers of this magazine, as does my col­league, Phill Price, from his editor’s chair at Air Gun­ner. Ba­si­cally, then, Air Arms is well sup­plied with feed­back from those who mat­ter most – the cus­tomers.

With such a vast data­base upon which to draw, Air Arms is in a strong po­si­tion when it comes to pleas­ing more of its peo­ple, more of the time, and with ev­ery pro­posed up­grade, or the launch of some­thing new, the com­pany al­ways fac­tors in this es­sen­tial feed­back. The de­vel­op­ment of the new-ver­sion Air Arms TDR is, quite lit­er­ally, a per­fect case in point.

THE ORIG­I­NAL CON­CEPT

The cur­rent S410 ac­tion has noth­ing to prove, in TDR guise or stan­dard; both have fault­less ac­cu­racy, plenty of shots per charge, and ex­cel­lent han­dling through­out their precharged pneu­matic, bolt-ac­tion, 10-shot de­signs. From the start, the whole TDR – TakeDown Ri­fle – con­cept was based on pro­vid­ing a more trans­portable ri­fle, with ab­so­lutely no re­duc­tion in per­for­mance com­pared to the stan­dard ver­sion.

This in­volved pro­duc­ing a ‘skele­ton’ stock that could be de­tached and re-fit­ted in sec­onds, with a knurled thumb­wheel as it turned out, yet re­tained the con­tact fea­tures be­tween shooter and ri­fle, es­sen­tial for ac­cu­rate shoot­ing. The TDR also had to be­come ‘in­ert’ once the butt sec­tion was taken off, plus it had to have an eas­ily-fit­ted si­lencer, again by virtue

of a knurled, fin­ger-friendly screw, to al­low the TDR to fit its spe­cially de­signed ruck­sack. The con­cept was seen through to a suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion, and the S410 TDR de­vel­oped a strong fan club, and rightly so.

WHAT THEY WANTED

Over the years, that es­sen­tial cus­tomer feed­back re­sulted in the TDR op­tion you’re look­ing at here in its pro­to­type form. First, there came a call from Air Arms’ cus­tomer base for the com­pany’s renowned S510 sidelever ac­tion to form the foun­da­tion of the TDR’s for­mat. That was en­tirely pre­dictable, given the suc­cess of the S510 in its var­i­ous guises, but the next two cus­tomer re­quests were as sur­pris­ing to Air Arms as they are to me.

First, it tran­spired that a huge pro­por­tion of TDR users and po­ten­tial users pre­ferred not to re­move and re­fit the ri­fle’s si­lencer each time it was taken down and read­ied for shoot­ing. The The si­lencer can still be re­moved should you pre­fer. ma­jor­ity opin­ion was for a TDR that could be fit­ted into a case whilst the mod­er­a­tor stayed on board. Fair enough, I guess, although I can’t say re­mov­ing the si­lencer was ever a has­sle, and it most def­i­nitely didn’t cause a change in zero, be­cause I was part of the TDR field-test­ing team and I paid par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the si­lencer on/off fea­ture. As ever, it’s the cus­tomer who counts, though, so this ‘si­lencer stays put’ deal had to be done.

CASE FOR THE DE­FENCE

The next sig­nif­i­cant wave of opin­ion re­ally did knock me back, when I dis­cov­ered that the ma­jor­ity of TDR users and prospec­tive pur­chasers … would pre­fer a rigid case over the neat, padded ruck­sack of the orig­i­nal model. Blimey! I’d never thought to ask about that as­pect of TDR own­er­ship when I’d dis­cussed the ri­fle with our read­ers, or with any­one else come to that. I thought hav­ing a dis­creet, easy-to-carry, comfy, soft ruck­sack that pro­tected your TDR and al­lowed you hands-free use of your bi­cy­cle, or to climb any farm gate, or to make a walk to your per­mis­sion as un­de­mand­ing as pos­si­ble, was a splen­did fea­ture. Ap­par­ently not, at least for many who con­tributed their thoughts on the mat­ter. I say again; blimey!

THE CASE FOR THE DE­FENCE

Thus, the S510 TDR pro­to­type I’ve been test­ing came in a sturdy syn­thetic case, per­fectly padded in­side and, yes, far eas­ier to fit in the car boot than a stan­dard case. In­side, all is com­part­men­talised, and the ri­fle in its two-part form is hugged by foam, inches deep, its scope and si­lencer al­ready fit­ted, with room for a larger scope and all sorts of ac­ces­sories, such as a rangefinder, a clean­ing kit, ex­tra pel­lets, that sort of thing, should you wish to in­clude them. It’s a proper case, and if that’s what Air Arms’ cus­tomers want, who am I to ar­gue?

THE PRO­TO­TYPE RI­FLE

There’s not much to say about the pro­to­type S510 TDR, apart from the fact that it does every­thing any S510 does with re­gard to ac­cu­racy, shot count, trig­ger func­tion, si­lence on dis­charge, and fast, easy han­dling. As with the S410 ver­sion, with your eye be­hind the scope, it’s so easy to for­get you’re shoot­ing a takedown, but that was part of the orig­i­nal brief, as I said.

The ac­tion block of the pro­to­type is shown here in the white and will be a prac­ti­cal silky black on pro­duc­tion mod­els, although I’m not cer­tain about the pol­ished alu­minium col­lar of the si­lencer. All will be re­vealed when the pro­duc­tion ex­am­ple ar­rives, and af­ter Air Arms has gath­ered even more in­put from vis­i­tors to its stand at the Mid­land Game Fair.

SYS­TEM FOR SUC­CESS

You see, the quest to give its cus­tomers what they want re­ally is re­lent­less, and of course that’s ex­actly how it should be. Air Arms is one of the most suc­cess­ful air­gun com­pa­nies in the world, and it has main­tained that sta­tus for many years. Part of the rea­son for such a high level of suc­cess has to come from giv­ing cus­tomers con­sul­tant sta­tus. Frankly, it’s an open and shut case.

It’s an S510 and it does every­thing an S510 does.

Lit­tle and larger. The S510 TDR’s case is con­sid­er­ably more com­pact than the stan­dard item - and it’s what Air Arms’ cus­tomers asked for.

... brings the butt sec­tion and ac­tion to­gether. Job done, in sec­onds.

That fa­mil­iar, proven, 10-shot magazine is at the heart of the ac­tion.

Turn­ing the knurled thumb­wheel ...

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