THE BIG TEST

The ed­i­tor is thrilled with the ex­clu­sive S510R TDR from Air Arms

Air Gunner - - Contents -

The orig­i­nal Air Arms S510 TDR is an S510 that can be bro­ken down into three sec­tions (stock, mod­er­a­tor and cylin­der/ ac­tion), although for the most part peo­ple leave the mod­er­a­tor on so it stays as two parts.

In­deed, that is how the gun comes pack­aged in its very sturdy, over­pro­tec­tive, foam- lined flight case, which has enough room in­side to keep your scope and mod­er­a­tor per­ma­nently fit­ted, and there’s still space for two mag­a­zines, which come sup­plied as stan­dard, a tin of pel­lets, fill­ing con­nec­tor and Allen keys.

There’s also plenty of room within the case to make your own cut- outs in the foam, so you can add your ac­ces­sories such as a lamp, bi­pod and tools. The case can be locked and se­cured by means of a se­curi­cord- type fix­ture, which is very handy.

The hard plas­tic case mea­sures

36 inches long, 15 inches wide and just un­der 5 inches deep, so it will eas­ily fit into most car boots.

KRYP­TON FAC­TOR – NO!

When I opened the case I was amazed at what I saw – a rub­berised black stock and fore­grip with a very shiny (oil- cov­ered) reser­voir glis­ten­ing un­der the of­fice lights. This gun was es­pe­cially built for us as a re­sult of Terry Doe’s in­ter­ac­tion with Air Arms at the re­cent SHOT show in Ve­gas. They literally re­turned home and had this ri­fle built, just for lit­tle ol’ me!

First job was to wipe away the ex­cess pro­tec­tive oil with a soft cloth, and then once I’d cleaned the parts down, it was time to put the gun to­gether to see what it felt like. Putting the TDR to­gether, from an open box, took me ex­actly 11 sec­onds – pretty nifty, eh? The process in­volves lo­cat­ing three pins on the front of the butt sec­tion with their cor­re­spond­ing ports to the rear of the ac­tion, push­ing the two sec­tions to­gether, then ro­tat­ing the knurled wheel in front of the butt pad un­til all is locked down tight.

It’s worth not­ing that un­til the stock has been fully fit­ted, the ac­tion is ren­dered use­less – so you can’t run around pre­tend­ing you own a 12 ft.lbs. ‘Pu­n­isher- style’ pis­tol- grip ri­fle.

Sat­is­fied that I knew what I was deal­ing with, I left the of­fice and im­me­di­ately headed to a friend’s farm to see how this baby per­forms.

FILL­ING AND LOAD­ING

Fill­ing the reser­voir is a dod­dle, thanks to Air Arms’ unique fil­tered air- in­take fill valve sys­tem. You sim­ply con­nect the male and fe­male ends, twist the fe­male end to hold it se­curely in place, and off you go. For the first fill I was out in a field sit­ting in the boot of my Out­lander, so I de­cided to pump her right up to the max, nudg­ing a lit­tle over

240 bar.

Next job was to load the fa­mil­iar Air Arms mag­a­zines, of which there are two sup­plied as stan­dard. I love the way the Air Arms mag’s work, there’s a pos­i­tive click each time you spin the in­ner disc around to drop an­other pel­let in. Be­ing non- springloaded makes the job of load­ing quite ther­a­peu­tic, with a ‘click, drop, click’ ac­tion. Talk­ing of mag’s, there are two slots hid­den un­der­neath the cheek­piece on the stock to hold two mag­a­zines se­curely – a re­ally nice touch for those who like to go walk­a­bout on their per­mis­sions.

With the mag’ loaded, it’s sim­ply a case of slot­ting it home once the side-lever has been drawn back fully, then clos­ing the lever and you’re good to go. Don’t try to load the mag­a­zine af­ter sim­ply cock­ing the lever back and re­leas­ing, it needs to be held as far back as it will go in or­der to ac­cept the mag’.

There is a man­ual safety button on the side of the trig­ger, which you

must press left to go ‘live’ and then press back to the right in or­der to be safe. It’s a re­ally clever po­si­tion to have placed it.

IN­CREASED CAPACITY

The orig­i­nal ri­fle could be filled to 190 bar, whereas this new model can go to 250 bar. The un­reg­u­lated TDR gave around 40/50 shots in .22, but this one gives in ex­cess of 100!

Dur­ing my ini­tial test­ing, I put ex­actly 80 shots through it, from fill­ing to just over 240 bar, and af­ter those 80 shots it was still reading a lit­tle over 100 bar.

IN­SANE AC­CU­RACY

I knocked up a makeshift range next to some rather large tree stumps that had just been cut (fate?). Us­ing a laser rangefinder I ma­noeu­vred my car so I was ex­actly 30 me­tres away from the main stump, with oth­ers be­hind it at around 35 me­tres.

Af­ter bolt­ing on a Hawke Van­tage SF scope (re­view in next month’s issue) I set about ze­ro­ing, which took just ten shots! It was a tad breezy on the ‘range’, very open from both sides, but I’d po­si­tioned my­self so the breeze was com­ing left to right over my right shoul­der. It didn’t seem

“I ma­noeu­vred my car so I was ex­actly 30 me­tres away from the main stump”

to make any dif­fer­ence at all to the ac­cu­racy of this ri­fle, as shot af­ter shot hit its mark.

The first squeeze of the trig­ger told me that it needed ad­just­ing. The ini­tial pull of the two- stages was way too far, it felt like it was go­ing to keep go­ing for­ever. How­ever, once I did fi­nally hit the sec­ond stage it re­leased beau­ti­fully.

Once I ad­justed the trig­ger, and af­ter throw­ing 30 or so shots through the barrel, I de­cided to put up two tar­gets and try five shots with the ri­fle propped up on my jacket on the roof of the Out­lander, then five with me splayed across the bon­net with a neatly folded jacket as a rest. You can see the dif­fer­ence in the pic­ture here – from the more com­fort­able rest po­si­tion I put five shots in a 12mm group!

Af­ter rat­tling through an­other cou­ple of mag’s, I went for a walk around the farm to see if I could spot any pi­geons or squir­rels to take a shot at, but un­for­tu­nately I didn’t find any­thing, so I headed back home to re­flect.

CHRONOTASTIC!

The next morn­ing I was up and itch­ing to get back out with the ri­fle. I topped the air back up to 240 bar, put ten shots through and then I wanted to see how it per­formed on the chrono­graph, so I rigged up my ‘Gun Vise’, used the hard case as a rest for the chrono­graph and an old, soggy tree stump to soak up the pel­lets as I shot them.

I couldn’t be­lieve what I was see­ing as shot af­ter shot reg­is­tered just a 4fps vari­ance – which I suspect is purely down to the pel­lets. Af­ter putting two full mag’s through the chrono’, I took the av­er­age to be 573 fps, which works out at 11.67 ft.lbs. based on the 16

“I couldn’t be­lieve what I was see­ing as shot af­ter shot reg­is­tered ”

grain Air Arms Di­abolo Field pel­lets I was us­ing.

CON­CLU­SION

I ab­so­lutely adore this ri­fle. It’s in­sanely ac­cu­rate, light­weight and a real joy to shoot. Not only is it the per­fect hunt­ing tool, ide­ally suited to wan­der­ing about or stalk­ing, but it’s also great for static hunt­ing sit­u­a­tions from a hide, or ly­ing down in a field – a bi­pod would be an ad­van­tage for that.

If I had to make any neg­a­tive com­ments, there are only two that I can muster. Firstly, I’d try to find a way of damp­en­ing the ‘click’ as the sidelever cock­ing arm is pushed back into po­si­tion. It’s only mi­nor, but I found it to be louder than I ex­pected, and when I’m ly­ing in a field full of rab­bits I want to reload as qui­etly as pos­si­ble im­me­di­ately af­ter tak­ing a shot, with the hope of get­ting two for the price of one.

Se­condly, and this ob­ser­va­tion was re­it­er­ated by my good friend and re­tired marks­man, Jim Mid­g­ley, the cheek­piece could eas­ily be made adjustable. It only needs to have an inch- and- a- half of rise, but that would make all the dif­fer­ence for ‘big headed’ chaps like our­selves.

Other than these two very mi­nor, nay per­sonal nig­gles, the Air Arms S510R TDR is about as per­fect as a sport­ing air ri­fle gets – absolute magic!

What a joy this reilfe is to shoot, it’s hard to put down

BE­LOW: What’s in the box? Ev­ery­thing you need!

RIGHT: The stock pins locate into the holes be­hind the ac­tion

FAR RIGHT: The ri­fle is ren­dered use­less un­til the stock is fully wound down

RIGHT: Tighten the knurled knob be­hind the butt pad to se­cure the stock in place

RIGHT: Air Arms’ fool­proof fill­ing valve sys­tem is su­perb

BE­LOW RIGHT: The Air Arms mag­a­zine is a clever de­sign

RIGHT: The fill valve is un­der the metal cap at the front of the reser­voir

BE­LOW LEFT: Plenty of room, even with a side-par­al­lax-adjust scope fit­ted

LEFT: The Air Arms mag­a­zines are sim­ple to load

BE­LOW LEFT: Dave couldn’t re­sist an­other hour shoot­ing in his back gar­den

ABOVE RIGHT: Af­ter 80 shots it was still reading just over 100 bar

ABOVE MID­DLE: This ri­fle can take up to 250 bar

BE­LOW RIGHT: From stand­ing propped up (right) and splayed across the car bon­net (left) both at 30 me­tres

ABOVE LEFT: You need to hold the cock­ing lever back fully in or­der to in­sert a mag­a­zine

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