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