Mark Camoc­cio re­views this com­pe­ti­tion ri­fle in its hunt­ing set-up

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Part one: Mark takes us through the qual­i­ties of the Gold­star SE multi- shot from BSA

As field tar­get shoot­ing – still the flag­ship air­gun sport – be­came in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated, with full match rigs and huge mag­ni­fi­ca­tion scopes in­evitably dom­i­nat­ing re­sults, so a break­away sport was re­quired, to cater for a dif­fer­ent sort of shooter, who just pre­ferred to keep things more straight­for­ward. Hunter Field Tar­get shoot­ing (HFT) ap­pealed to me right from the start. Yes, there are meth­ods used to rangefind tar­gets, but over­all, the sport evolved from a move back to more in­stinc­tive shoot­ing.

Each to his own, as they say, and it has to be a cause for cel­e­bra­tion be­cause both sports now hap­pily co- ex­ist, ap­peal­ing as they do, to dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the air­gun com­mu­nity.


When any sport starts to at­tract ded­i­cated equip­ment from man­u­fac­tur­ers, you know it has well and truly ‘ar­rived’, and so it is with HFT. Con­sider the re­mit for the sport, though; to of­fer the en­thu­si­ast a com­pe­ti­tion course of knock- down tar­gets, to sim­u­late roughly a real-life hunt­ing sce­nario, and it soon be­comes ob­vi­ous that the re­quire­ments of an HFT ri­fle should be equally ap­pli­ca­ble out in the field.

On test here is the Gold­star SE from BSA, a gun de­signed in con­junc­tion with HFT shoot­ers, with win­ning in mind, and it’s a clas­sic ex­am­ple of a tech­ni­cal ri­fle that can dou­ble up nicely as a slick hunt­ing ma­chine.


As I never tire of say­ing, per­sonal taste plays a big part in ri­fle se­lec­tion, but where BSA scores so highly is in the way the Golds\tar SE fol­lows fairly tra­di­tional lines, and yet still of­fers fea­tures aimed at max­imis­ing downrange per­for­mance. Ver­sa­til­ity is clearly the name of the game, so let’s take a look and see what this flag­ship model has to of­fer the en­thu­si­ast.

Firstly the badg­ing; the ‘Gold­star’, takes its name from BSA’s most suc­cess­ful rac­ing bike of the 1950s, so a nod to the com­pany’s win­ning ethos of the past, if you like. There’s a choice of three stocks; black pep­per (grey/ black lam­i­nate), red, white and blue ( lam­i­nate), or tra­di­tional, oil-fin­ished wal­nut. The stocks fea­ture an ad­justable butt, cheek piece, and raised fore- end sec­tion or ‘ ham­ster’, to coin the silly name. Move to the ac­tion and we have BSA’s own ECHF (En­hanced Cold Ham­mer Forged) bar­rel fit­ted; a two-stage trig­ger, Bo­las bolt-ac­tion sys­tem, reg­u­lated ac­tion, in­te­gral manome­ter, and even a fac­tory- sup­plied air strip­per. The ac­tion can be sup­plied as a straight sin­gle-shot feed, or opt for the multi-shot – and it comes with a ten-shot mag­a­zine.


My test ri­fle was spec­i­fied in wal­nut, and as a multi- shot. In keep­ing with

“When the gun mounts into the shoul­der and the scope im­age falls into place nat­u­rally, we’ve achieved our goal”

the more hunt­ing bias, it was sup­plied by BSA with the ‘op­tional ex­tra’ VC Si­lencer – ‘ VC’ denotes Vari­able Choke. This si­lencer model can be adapted to be cal­i­bre spe­cific, and in ad­di­tion to its per­for­mance, adds a nice amount of front weight, which I tend to favour.

Back to the stock, and I have to nail my colours to the mast. I just love wal­nut, and whilst lam­i­nate may be tech­ni­cally su­pe­rior in terms of sta­bil­ity in tem­per­a­ture, the beauty of wood grain sways it for me. Time to pre­pare, and the first stage, with­out even fir­ing a shot, has to be set­ting up the dif­fer­ent stock el­e­ments, so that the gun fits, and I’m no longer strain­ing to get com­fort­able.

Start with the butt; first set the length of pull by slack­en­ing off the Allen bolts, ac­cessed by the two holes in the stock. With the screws slack, gently slide the butt sec­tion in, or pull it out, to the re­quired point. When all feels good, tighten both bolts. Like­wise, the butt pad; in­sert the Allen key into the socket at the rear, and slacken and slide the butt up or down to suit. When the gun mounts into the shoul­der and the scope im­age falls into place nat­u­rally, we’ve achieved our goal. The fi­nal piece of the stock up for ad­just­ment is the fore- end block. This is de­signed for HFT, to give suf­fi­cient height to take on el­e­vated tar­gets. In a hunt­ing sce­nario, de­cide on the po­si­tion from which most shots will be taken, and set the fore end where it feels com­fort­able. Again, ad­just­ment is by twin Allen screws, so it isn’t to be ad­justed quickly in the field – more a case of ‘ set and leave alone’.


Fit­ting a scope is easy with the Gold­star SE, since BSA, un­like some other man­u­fac­tur­ers, keep the mag­a­zine be­low the height of the breech block and this al­lows for a con­tin­u­ous un­in­ter­rupted run of dove­tail rail. With glass­ware in place, it’s time to fill the cylin­der to the pre­scribed 232bar; this is usual for BSA, but quite high pres­sure when com­pared to many ri­vals. The air in­let valve sits at the front of the Gold­star’s cylin­der, and is ac­cessed by twist­ing the re­volv­ing dust cover, which on my test ri­fle, was just a lit­tle tight. A probe- style fill­ing adap­tor is sup­plied, and this needs to be screwed onto the air­line, from ei­ther an air­gun pump, or diver’s bot­tle. Now push the probe into the Gold­star’s valve in­let, charge the cylin­der, re­move the probe, and twist the cover closed.

We’re al­most ready to go. Next month, we’ll see how this ri­fle per­forms, both on the range and out in the field.

Does this ri­fle take BSA’s hunt­ing guns to a new level of per­for­mance?

You get full ad­just­ment in the butt pad

The grip has huge stip­pled pan­els

The ad­justable fore end is neatly done

Note the ad­just­ment holes

Ac­cess to the air valve is un­der this ro­tary col­lar

Fine han­dling is what this gun is about

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