The editor studies the features, fittings and potential of a brace of nextgeneration Daystate rifles
If you’ve endured my ‘The Editor Says’ page this month, you’ll know that this review is obliged to be a bit of a departure from the norm. Perhaps I jinxed myself last month when I prefaced my test on the Gunpower Stealth with a desire to do things in an entirely different way. ‘My plan is to obtain my results first, then investigate what may have brought them about’, I stated, with unlimited zeal and all sorts of positive intentions.
Well, that worked out a treat, didn’t it? No, it really didn’t. A literally staggering degree of
pain from a mysteriously knackered knee changed every plan I had, including the one where I flew out to Las Vegas and had a proper fact-finding fondle of two new Daystates, the Limited Edition of the Red Wolf, and the Wolverine R, I knew would be waiting for me at the S.H.O.T. Show.
I’d already discussed these rifles at some length with Daystate’s Terence Logan and I was itching to get my hands on them. As it turned out, I’ll be scratching that itch by the time you read this, but for the purposes of this test, it’s going to be a matter of my supplying you with as much detail as possible, then getting the shooting done next month. That’s more than enough of the preamble; let’s see what these new rifles have to offer.
THE RED WOLF SERIE ROSSO
First up, here’s the limited edition of the side-lever-activated, electronic Red Wolf, which will eventually be offered in its production form, with the option of a walnut or laminate stock, and minus the breech engraving of the Serie Rosso – Red Series – example you see here. In conjunction with Italian stockmakers, Minelli, Daystate will offer just 200 of these stunning rifles, and even with a price tag of £2499, they’re an absolute cert to sell out and leave scores of customers frustrated that they couldn’t get their hands on one. Those who collect limited edition Daystates are serious about what they do, and they can be found all over the world. In fact, one overseas dealer recently contacted Daystate and declared, ‘I’d like to know how many of the Serie Rosso I can buy, and if it’s possible, I’ll take them all!’ Even at trade prices that’s some remarkable financial conviction right there.
My own knowledge of Daystate limited edition rifles has shown them to be a valuable means of research and development into what can be applied to the production versions, and the Red Wolf Serie Rosso is a perfect example of this. Beneath the exotic exterior there beats a completely re-written electronic heart, which will power the production Red Wolf toward a truly impressive level of performance.
Using the ‘beta MCT’, otherwise known as ‘Mapped Compensated Technology’ electronics package, which digitally controls the rifle’s output, the sub-12 ft.lbs., .22 calibre production versions of this rifle will return 500, precisely regulated shots from each fill of its Hi-Lite, carbon-fibre bottle. For those who prefer the standard bottle, this will be an option on production guns.
The Red Wolf, in Serie Rosso and production guise, will offer three levels of energy output over three calibre options in sub-12, these being the standard .177, .22 and .25, plus another two in the rifle’s high-power version, with .22, .25 doing the business, plus a .303 option for the production Wolf, at levels up to 70 ft.lbs. These Hi-Power examples will be fitted with 23-inch, match grade, Lothar Walther barrels, rather than the 17-inch barrels of the off-ticket models.
The rifles’ MCT electronics are ‘toggled’ via the trigger, and in addition to the three levels of muzzle energy, the user can be alerted to the Red Wolf’s available shot count, how many magazines it’s shot its way through, and its air reservoir pressure.
Those MCT electronics are powered by a rechargeable battery system that is in the final stages of testing as I write, and Daystate assure me that it will be based on ‘a readily available, rechargeable battery’. My previous tests of Daystate’s electronic systems have shown them able to provide thousands of shots before a re-charge was required, and I can’t see the company offering a reduction in performance in this area.
Minelli has responded quite magnificently to Daystate’s in-house stock design, and everyone who reported to me on the Serie Rosso has remarked on the sheer quality of the rifle’s ambidextrous, laminated, adjustable stock. Even from the photos it’s a stunning piece of woodwork, and the combination of adjustable cheek piece and Daystate’s ‘3-D’ butt pad is going to work extremely well. Add scoops for the shooter’s thumb, plus finger-friendly contouring on the grip, secured by expertly excavated stippling, and the control assistance is all there, as it will be on the production guns. Personally, I’d have liked to see more made of the grip cap, so that the trigger hand can be
rested during shooting, but I’ll reserve final judgement until the rifle is in my hands.
The production Red Wolf will be offered in either walnut at £1799, with the standard air reservoir, or £1949 with a grey laminate stock and a carbonfibre Hi-Lite bottle. Check out the specifications panel for some impressive numbers.
FITTINGS AND FIXTURES
First, there’s that slick new sidelever to consider, and very nice it is, too. It can be swapped to suit left-handers, and the tried-and-tested Daystate 10-shot magazine can also be loaded from either side, pending the repositioning of its stop-pin. We’re talking fully ambidextrous, here, without apparent compromise, and that’s a fine feature in itself.
Daystate has gone with the ‘post and shoe’ trigger system, again fully adjustable, only this time it’s backed by a mechanical, resettable safety, rather than the electronic device we’ve come to know. Use it when you need to, ignore it when you don’t. That works for me.
The Serie Rosso has a carbon-fibre barrel shroud to complement its air reservoir, and the production Wolves will get the same, although only the limited edition rifle is presented in a padded hard case to protect that superb red-tinted stock and the engraving on the breech block. Production rifles will have matte-black breech blocks, which should look the part above a black laminate or walnut stock.
All in all, the Red Wolf, in both presentations, is a handsome beast, and so it should be for the price it commands. It’s already fulfilled expectations in its limited edition mode, and only time, and testing, will show what the production version brings to the premier league airgun marketplace. Interesting times ahead for this rifle, then, and I suspect more of the same for the next Daystate on parade, the Wolverine R. Here we go, then.
THE WOLVERINE R
The first statement I was given from Daystate was that their new brand-new Wolverine R is not, repeat not, a replacement for the company’s mega-popular Wolverine II model. Let’s get that one nailed right from the start.
With that point established, the next one up for consideration concerns the ‘R’ in the new Wolverine’s title. In this case ‘R’ is for ‘Regulator’, developed and supplied by the Dutch specialists at Huma, with whom Daystate has worked for several years. The introduction of that regulator has had a dramatic effect on the performance of the Wolverine, as anyone who is steeped in reg’ technology would expect. For instance, Daystate claim the regulated, Hi-Power Wolverine has been given a 100% uplift in terms of shot-production, with a correspondingly significant increase for its sub-12 ft.lbs. models.
Then there’s the shot-to-shot consistency, of course, which for many is mainly what a regulator brings to an airgun. For those outside the regulator loop, these devices are installed between the rifle’s air reservoir and its hammer system, and the reg’ ensures that a precisely measured amount of compressed air is used for each shot. Consistent pressure translates to more consistent pellet velocities, which means less variation of impact points on the target. Basically, consistent output equals consistent accuracy.
There’s another major advantage to shooting an efficiently regulated rifle, though, although I believe it’s more relevant to competition shooters. The fact is, when you know that every pellet you send downrange leaves the muzzle at practically the same speed, your confidence is genuinely boosted and it eases your brain.
This is a real thing and it’s something I’ve experienced personally. Regulators remove concerns about ‘power curves’ and changes in point of impact, however miniscule these may be in the real world ... or at least that’s the plan. Reg’s can play up, and that’s why some shooters don’t like them, but when they’re doing what they’re designed to do, they’re fine things to have on your side.
HAMMERING HOME THE ADVANTAGES
The Wolverine R is a ‘mechanical’ rifle, in that its action has no electronics installed. Instead, Daystate use the genius of a human brain which belongs to Steve Harper. Steve has developed many clever things in his inventive life and he’s an absolutely fascinating person. Anyone with the slightest interest in … well, anything, really, would enjoy a conversation with Steve, and I’ve been privileged to be such a person more than my fair share of times. The item of Harper genius in this case is his patented ‘Slingshot Hammer System’, which maximises efficiency by minimising waste, when applied to the firing valve of a pre-charged pneumatic airgun. The Slingshot Hammer’s efficiency comes from drastically reducing the enduring PCP problem of ‘valve bounce’, which is caused by the main valve of the airgun rebounding, and slightly opening, after the initial strike from the internal hammer. This wastes air, and anything that prevents bounce is rightly considered a good thing to have.
The Harper Slingshot, teamed with the Huma regulator, provides a ferociously effective double-team against inefficiency, and that’s reflected in the claimed single-figure pellet f.p.s. variation. Again, I’m incredibly keen to see what this rifle can do on a test range, and that opportunity is being sorted as I write.
STOCK AND PRICING OPTIONS
As with the production Red Wolf, potential Wolverine R owners get to choose between grey laminate, as shown here, and walnut furniture. The ambidextrous thumbhole configuration is identical, although the pricing varies from £1349 for the walnut/standard air bottle option, to £1499 for the laminate/Hi Lite carbon-fibre version.
The Wolverine R can be ordered in Hi-Power format by those with the required certification, and I know this option is going to prove popular, especially with the new sidelever-activated action. Sidelevers demand noticeably less effort to cycle compared to a bolt-action, and even more so in FAC guns where a beefed-up hammer spring is at the centre of things.
The new Wolverine’s barrel and trigger have been built around time-proven Daystate technology, and it’s a certainty that this rifle will at least equal, and possibly improve upon, what has gone before. That technology never goes backwards, so it’s going to be even more exciting to see where the latest developments have taken us. I’m arranging tests of the Red Wolf and Wolverine R right now, and I’ll be behind both at a test bench as soon as production samples become available. I only hope I’m fit enough to do full justice to these remarkable rifles, but if I’m not, I’ll find someone who is. Whatever happens, we’ll find out what this new breed of Daystate can really do.
Mechanical meets digital. You pays yer money and you takes yer choice!
Daystate’s Terence Logan has the future of the company in his hands.
The fit and finish of this rifle has drawn countless compliments, and rightly so.
The laminate version of the Wolverine R comes with double-coverage on consistency and efficiency.
Note the Wolverine R’s twin gauges, covering main reservoir and regulator pressure.
The Serie Rosso is a limited edition supergun in the true Daystate tradition.
Adjustability means more efficiency - even for superguns.
Sidelevers both, and all the better for it in my opinion.
The new Daystates are designed to go global.