AIR ARMS S500 very first ‘discovery’ session with it produced two, single-hole, 5-shot groups at 30 and 35 yards, and I wasn’t even going for that level at the time. Once the first three pellet holes overlapped each other, though, it was game on, because it always is when that happens. Usually, the next pellet, or more often the fifth, will leave a tiny paper bridge between the hole it makes and true satisfaction, but sometimes there’s no visible reaction to the final pellet strike, and just a ‘tik!’ sound as the pellet passes through the hole made by the previous four. All of the desired elements are there, too. There’s the pleasure of using high-quality hardware, and the pride of ownership that comes with it. Now add the attraction of achievable excellence, with just the right mix of demand and reward to make it satisfying, without need of a match-winning mentality and the obsession it so often involves. This type of shooting takes place entirely on the shooter’s terms, and we set our own challenges. It can be done alone, in company, at the club, or in the garden. It’s a perfect shooting pastime, and the Air Arms S500 Carbine really is the perfect rifle to make the most of it. always desirable, it’s not as critical when shooting off a bench, as most of this ‘new generation’ seem to be doing, because the bench offers full support, whilst we handle aiming and shot-release duties. OUTPUT AND INPUT Another part of this new deal, is the combination of ease of use and lack of hassle, with the all-important pleasing results as the ultimate product. In short, the ideal rifle will provide maximum satisfaction, for minimum fuss. Modern airgun magazines are mostly simple to use and learning their various requirements takes no time at all. That said, it’s still much more straightforward to have your rifle propped on a bench, where you load each pellet manually. Not a big deal, or major difference in hassle, but the rhythm of cocking the action, loading the pellet, then closing the breech, is a pleasing routine in itself. The fact that each 200-bar charge of the Carbine test rifle passes through a super-fine particle filter and yields around 70, full-power shots in .177 and close to 90 in .22, means that the internals are protected from dirt and grit, and by the time it’s ready for a refill, I’m ready for a break, a stretch of the limbs, and a stroll downrange to see how I’ve done on my targets. All in all, there’s a fine balance of input to output going on, here. I THE WHOLE ONE-HOLE THING No matter how long you’ve been at this sport, or how many times you’ve done it, shooting a single-hole group is an incredibly satisfying thing to do, because it means you were perfect. Just for that short time, everything worked exactly as you wanted it to; the pellets, the rifle, the scope, and most importantly, you. That one-hole group confirms, in a cut-outand-keep way, that you can really get it right, and it’s there to refer to when things aren’t going quite so well. I know several shooters who carry a one-holer in their kit, just in case a confidence boost is needed. You think I’m seeing too much in all this? Not a bit of it. This world tells us all, too hard and too often, when we screw up. I’m taking every bit of positive affirmation I can get – and so should you. TECH SPEC Model: S500 Carbine Manufacturer: Air Arms Country of origin: UK and Italy Type: Pre-charged, single-shot, sporter Calibre: .22, .177 Cocking/loading: Sidelever Trigger: 2-stage, adjustable, with manual, in-trigger, resettable safety Stock type: Ambidextrous, poplar sporter Weight: 2.8 kg (6.2 lbs) Rifle only Length: 970 mm (38.25 ins), excluding optional silencer Barrel: 395 mm (15.5 ins) PURE ACCURACY Fill pressure: 200 bar SO, WHAT’S THIS NEW THING ALL ABOUT? The single-hole group is the prize we’re shooting for, and it’s our version of a golfer’s hole-in-one. These days, a calm day, highquality, compatible pellets, and a relaxed delivery, will make single-holers more achievable out to 30 yards than ever before. Many of the rifles out there can do this, and when everything is in alignment, some can push that range to 40 yards, and beyond. The Air Arms S500 is one of those rifles, and my Shots per charge: 90 in .22 - 70 .177 at sub-12 ft.lbs. First, I don’t believe there’s anything ‘new’ going on at all. I think what’s happening is simply an extension of one of the fundamentals of our sport, the pleasure of marksmanship. The current pressures have needed to be eased, and this type of relaxed, deliberate, easy-access, rewarding shooting, is the perfect antidote to stress and frustration. Average energy: 11.5 ft.lbs. Q-Tec silencer: £79 Contact: www.airarms.co.uk Tel: 01323 845 853 RRP £729 21 www.airgunshooting.co.uk AIRGUN WORLD
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