LEG­ENDARY STA­TUS

Mark Camoc­cio takes us through the many virtues of the Gala­had

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Mark Camoc­cio gives us an over­view of the Gala­had sport pup from Air Arms

W hat’s the ex­pres­sion ... ‘late to the party’? Yes, it’s fair to say that Air Arms did rather drag their feet be­fore get­ting in­volved in the boom­ing bullpup mar­ket, but let’s face it, there’ve been a few false dawns over the years from man­u­fac­tur­ers – the odd bullpup spe­cial sur­fac­ing and then sink­ing with­out trace. Tem­po­rar­ily writ­ten off as cu­riosi­ties, the bullpup con­cept has been in­creas­ingly pop­u­larised, even le­git­imised by the mil­i­tary in their quest for short­ened, su­per-fast- han­dling kit, honed to do a job. By plac­ing the ac­tion to the back of the stock, balance, looks and han­dling are in­deed trans­formed – not to ev­ery­one’s taste, ad­mit­tedly, but to a grow­ing band of dis­ci­ples, seem­ingly world­wide, there’s im­mense ap­peal.

STATES CALL­ING

Air Arms’ break­ing point, was ap­par­ently clam­our from their deal­ers in the States, for a bullpup de­sign, car­ry­ing the pres­ti­gious Air Arms badge on the side, and so the seeds were sown for project ‘Gala­had’.

The usual mea­sured, cal­cu­lat­ing ap­proach from the Sus­sex- based com­pany was to be ex­pected, but the re­sult is some­thing rather spe­cial, that takes on board the think­ing be­hind the con­cept, yet of­fers re­fine­ment and pedi­gree in equal mea­sure. Af­ter sev­eral years in the plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment stage, the Gala­had has emerged and it re­ally has to be seen as some­thing of an ex­er­cise in en­gi­neer­ing, a show­case for the com­pany’s tal­ented de­sign team, and an ex­am­ple of just what is pos­si­ble on mod­ern state- of the- art CNC ma­chin­ery.

SPORT WHAT?

Air Arms’ in­sis­tence that their new baby be termed a ‘sport pup’ was a lit­tle twee, but get past the word games, and there’s plenty to get ex­cited about. Just take a long hard look at the Gala­had and the sheer qual­ity of what’s on of­fer soon be­comes ap­par­ent. From the ex­quis­ite flow­ing lines of the wood­work, to that as­ton­ish­ing breech block, it’s clear from the out­set that this is no af­ter­thought, where an ex­ist­ing model’s ac­tion is just po­si­tioned at the back of the stock. The Gala­had is a com­pre­hen­sive, thor­oughly re­searched of­fer­ing that de­liv­ers the bullpup con­cept with class and panache, whilst al­low­ing the end user to tailor the spec­i­fi­ca­tion to their needs.

You can spec­ify a full- length ri­fle ac­tion or car­bine, reg­u­lated or un­reg­u­lated; there’s the choice of calibres; the stock can be spec­i­fied in wal­nut, beech or black soft touch, and the scope rails are also op­tional – con­ven­tional dove­tail, or Pi­catinny. As for my test gun, this came in .22, with a car­bine- length reg­u­lated ac­tion, Pi­catinny rails and wal­nut stock. Air Arms also sent me one of their ‘Short Q-Tec si­lencers’ for the test, and this is a su­per- com­pact ver­sion, that per­fectly com­ple­ments the Gala­had’s pro­por­tions.

FEA­TURES

So, which fea­tures come as stan­dard with this all- new ac­tion? Well, for a start there’s that dis­tinc­tive, sidelever cock­ing sys­tem, the stan­dard Air Arms 10- shot ro­tary mag­a­zine, (two are sup­plied), a fully shrouded bar­rel with si­lencer op­tion, thumb- hole stock with fully ad­justable butt pad, two- stage trig­ger, manome­ter (pres­sure gauge),

and even a small spirit level mounted to the scope rail. At this point, it should be noted that the stock is fully am­bidex­trous, and in ad­di­tion, the cock­ing lever sys­tem has been de­signed to be eas­ily switched from one side to the other; so lefties shouldn’t feel left out.

As for that tasty wal­nut fur­ni­ture, it hails from the Minelli fac­tory in Italy, and the qual­ity fin­ish and ex­e­cu­tion are im­pres­sive to say the least. The de­sign it­self is ap­par­ently the work of three times World FT Cham­pion, Nick Jenk­in­son, and with a stylish and supremely func­tional thumb- hole con­fig­u­ra­tion, re­cessed ac­ces­sory rail in the fore end, an ad­justable, prop­erly con­cave rub­ber pad, and that flared sup­port­ive pis­tol grip, han­dling and con­trol are en­hanced.

SAME BUT DIF­FER­ENT

Once you con­sider the huge in­vest­ment in state- of- the art CNC ma­chin­ery at Air Arms, then their ca­pa­bil­i­ties should come as no sur­prise That said, take a close look at the Gala­had’s flow­ing breech block, and it still draws gasps, for its de­tail and ex­quis­ite ex­e­cu­tion. Fine en­gi­neer­ing in­deed, and a bold state­ment of in­tent if ever there was one, from this highly re­garded brand.

Bullpups re­quire the scope to be mounted far higher than nor­mal be­cause we are sight­ing above the ac­tion, and not be­hind it, as with a nor­mal con­fig­u­ra­tion. How man­u­fac­tur­ers deal with this varies, of­ten with the use of what’s termed an ‘in­ter­mount’. With the Gala­had, Air Arms have de­cided upon that spec­tac­u­lar seam­less breech block, and with a small spirit level in­cor­po­rated at the rear, to coun­ter­act cant – a prob­lem ac­cen­tu­ated given the height of the sight line – it’s all very neatly done. How­ever, there is a sig­nif­i­cant gap be­tween the fully- shrouded bar­rel and cylin­der that has at­tracted some

“By plac­ing the ac­tion to the back of the stock, balance, looks and han­dling are in­deed trans­formed”

neg­a­tive crit­i­cism where the visual pro­file is con­cerned, but I don’t see it be­ing a ma­jor con­cern, and the Gala­had’s looks are some­what slicker than many ri­vals, for sure.

Next month, we’ll get down to busi­ness, and see how this ex­cit­ing new model han­dles and per­forms, and it should be an eye- opener.

ABOVE: This lay­out cer­tainly makes for a short ri­fle

LEFT: Air Arms were late to the bullpup party, but the Gala­had is im­pres­sive

LEFT: Note the soft­touch cheek piece and mag­a­zine

ABOVE: Fancy a se­condary si­lencer? No prob­lem

ABOVE: An ac­ces­sory rail sits un­der­neath

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