Ul­ti­mate Reg­u­la­tion

Phill Price asks if adding a reg­u­la­tor has im­proved this al­ready su­perb ri­fle

Airgun World - - Contents -

Phill Price re­views the reg­u­la­tor ver­sion of an Air Arms S510XS

It’s a fact that the mod­ern air­gun is a world away from the air­guns of our youth, in terms of out­right per­for­mance. The great­est at­tribute any ri­fle can pos­sess is ac­cu­racy, and to­day’s pre-charged pneu­mat­ics are sim­ply stun­ning in this re­gard. Let me tell you a short story that ex­plains just how good they are. I have a pal who be­came ob­sessed with field tar­get com­pe­ti­tions. He spent a for­tune on a su­per-high-tech com­pe­ti­tion gun which he mod­i­fied and changed, over and over, un­til he felt it was as good as any ri­fle could be. He then be­came in­ter­ested in HFT and asked me what to buy. I said that a box stock Air Arms S400 would be ideal, so he got one. Tested side by side with his com­pe­ti­tion rig, the group sizes were the same at 50 yards and he was stunned! That sim­ple PCP matched his com­pe­ti­tion gun that cost ten times as much.

So, if the ac­tions are al­ready su­perb, how do we im­prove the ri­fle? Adding a more com­pe­ti­tion-ori­ented stock that can be ad­justed to fit is a log­i­cal step up. This was the think­ing be­hind the Air Arms S510 Ul­ti­mate Sporter, and this ri­fle has proven to be a huge suc­cess for the brand. It clev­erly adds com­pe­ti­tion gun, cus­tomised fit to a clas­sic multi-shot hunt­ing gun, tak­ing the per­for­mance up a level. You’ll have seen from the pic­tures that the cheek piece is ad­justable, as is the butt pad. Bet­ter still, the butt pad can have its length in­creased from the in­dus­try stan­dard 14½” to suit taller peo­ple, and the check piece can be ad­justed left and right, as well as up and down.

CUS­TOM FIT

This means that with a few Allen keys and some pa­tience, you can cus­tomise the fit ex­actly for your in­di­vid­ual build. Once fit­ted cor­rectly, you’ll mount the gun more con­sis­tently, which gets you on to the tar­get more quickly, and there will be re­duced mus­cle stress in your body which helps steadi­ness on aim. There’s also a re­duc­tion in fa­tigue as­so­ci­ated with good fit that will pay div­i­dends through a long day in the field.

The fore end is also in a com­pe­ti­tion style, be­ing wide and flat across its base in which you’ll also find a metal track that holds the front sling swivel stud as stan­dard, and it will ac­cept any accessory you choose to add. The rear swivel stud is at­tached to the metal com­po­nents that al­low the cheek piece to move, so you won’t need to drill your beau­ti­ful new stock to fit studs. I be­lieve that all hunt­ing guns need sling swivels so I ap­plaud Air Arms for these ad­di­tions.

Wrapped around the high-qual­ity Lothar Walther bar­rel is a thick shroud topped off with one of Air Arms’ ex­cel­lent Q-Tec si­lencers. This does a bril­liant job of cut­ting muz­zle noise

“with a few Allen keys and some pa­tience, you can cus­tomise the fit ex­actly for your in­di­vid­ual build”

al­most to noth­ing – a fea­ture that hun­ters will love. At just 40” long this ri­fle is neat and handy in the hunt­ing fields, liv­ing up to the ‘Sporter’ part of its name.

EVEN BET­TER?

With this long list of de­sir­able fea­tures all packed into one ri­fle, the ques­tion of how you could pos­si­bly im­prove it fur­ther seems even more dif­fi­cult to an­swer, but Air Arms chose to add a reg­u­la­tor, as found in top-end com­pe­ti­tion guns. A reg­u­la­tor mea­sures and con­trols pre­cisely, the amount of air that’s used to drive the pel­let down the bar­rel on each shot. They have to be built to the very tight­est tol­er­ances and hand-fit­ted by skilled tech­ni­cians. Clearly, this adds cost and slows pro­duc­tion, but if you want the ul­ti­mate per­for­mance from your hunt­ing gun, then this is a step in that di­rec­tion. The reg’ man­ages the air in the reservoir so that from the max­i­mum fill­ing pres­sure to the min­i­mum work­ing pres­sure, the ve­loc­ity re­mains the same. Across my SKAN chrono­graph I saw a 15fps spread through 120 shots, which is truly su­perb. This means that at 50 yards there would be a 0.3” vari­a­tion in tra­jec­tory from the fastest to the slow­est, or in other words, too small a dif­fer­ence to mat­ter.

DIF­FER­ENT SOUND

The ri­fle uses the air more fru­gally than the non-reg­u­lated ver­sion, so I sensed that it might be just a touch qui­eter, but it would be hard to tell with­out hav­ing the two guns side by side. What­ever, it’s cer­tainly a quiet ri­fle.

The ac­cu­racy was sim­ply stun­ning and the fir­ing cy­cle smooth and drama-free, al­low­ing me just to con­cen­trate on tech­nique. Print­ing tiny groups at 40 yards was child’s play from the bench, as long as the wind was kind. I’ve used these mag­a­zines for­ever and fully trust them to be re­li­able and also to de­liver the pel­lets un­dam­aged into the bar­rel. The reg­u­la­tor re­moves the reservoir fill pres­sure fac­tor that you need to al­low for in non­reg­u­lated guns, and squeezes an­other drop of per­for­mance from an al­ready ex­cel­lent ri­fle. Adding the reg’ in­creases the gun’s cost, but if you want the ul­ti­mate Ul­ti­mate Sporter then it’s a price worth pay­ing. I

“at 50 yards there would be a 0.3” vari­a­tion in tra­jec­tory from the fastest to the slow­est”

Sev­eral club­mates were smit­ten and ready to buy one as soon as they hit the shops.

All you need to cus­tomise the fit of your ri­fle.

The fore end track can ac­cept any accessory.

The sidelever cock­ing was light and smooth.

The man­ual safety is set in the trig­ger blade.

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