ED’S TEST

Shocked!

Airgun World - - Contents -

What do you want from your next air ri­fle? If the an­swer to that seem­ingly sim­ple ques­tion is, ‘some­thing grace­ful, clas­si­cally sport­ing, un­der­stated and ele­gant’, well you can look away now. If, how­ever, your wish list reads, ‘a to­tally prac­ti­cal, af­ford­able, top­per­form­ing, multi-shot, PCP sporter, with loads of shots per charge and great ac­cu­racy’, you’ve def­i­nitely landed on the right re­view. In fact, I’ll be­gin my study of the Turk­ish made, sidelever-ac­ti­vated, Kral Arms Puncher Jumbo with the kind of state­ment I usu­ally save for the con­clu­sion, and de­clare right now that this ri­fle has caused a few shocks for me, and ev­ery­one I’ve shown it to.

SHOCK 1

Those shocks, and I’m talk­ing gen­uine, eye­brow-rais­ing, head-shak­ing sur­prise, here, came from sev­eral di­rec­tions, the first of these be­ing the Jumbo’s weight and bal­ance. Ba­si­cally, it’s way lighter in the hand than it ap­pears to the eye. The scales told me the .177 cal­i­bre test ex­am­ple weighs 7.8lbs, with­out a scope, but it feels sig­nif­i­cantly lighter, es­pe­cially in the shoul­der, and it looked a min­i­mum of two pounds heav­ier when I first lifted the lid on the supplied padded hard case.

A closer look ex­plained things, as I stud­ied the amount of solid met­al­work ver­sus the Jumbo’s ‘re­lieved’ sec­tions. The 18.5-inch bar­rel is shrouded and much of the wal­nut stock is hol­low. Then, the weight of the al­loy block and the solid sec­tions of tim­ber at the butt and grip are po­si­tioned di­rectly be­hind the ri­fle’s nat­u­ral bal­ance point, propped com­fort­ably in the shoul­der, which makes it eas­ier to hold the Kral on aim for those es­sen­tial few sec­onds.

SHOCK 2

The next sur­prise came cour­tesy of the test tar­gets. For once, I was blessed with near-still con­di­tions and the .177 Jumbo took full ad­van­tage of them. I was a tad miffed when I couldn’t beat the ‘cut out and keep’ stan­dard, 22mm di­am­e­ter, five-shot group at 48 yards, put in by my mate, Steve, but ev­ery dog has its day … es­pe­cially the flukey ones, it seems. When Steve had left, tak­ing his ‘I beat Terry’ group with him, the saddo, I set­tled into a se­ri­ous ac­cu­racy-test­ing ses­sion and stamped out group af­ter group, us­ing Air Arms Di­abolo Field, straight from the tin. At 35 yards, I ‘Punchered’ those tar­get cards, time af­ter time, with the av­er­age group size an ef­fort­less 14mm. Oth­ers mir­rored my re­sults, and as I say, they were as pleas­antly shocked as I was.

SHOCK 3

The price. Once the first cou­ple of sur­prises had reg­is­tered, the Jumbo’s £500 price tag pro­vided the next one. Again came the head shak­ing, the arched eye­brows and the ex­cla­ma­tions of ‘blimey’, and other, more ro­bust, re­ac­tions. Just as the Kral looks heav­ier than it is, it looks far more ex­pen­sive, too. The oil-fin­ished, Turk­ish thumb­hole wal­nut stock con­trib­utes to that, of course, but the over­all qual­ity of the Jumbo cer­tainly plays its part, too.

That am­bidex­trous stock is a high-qual­ity item in its own right, ac­tu­ally, with its ar­ray of finely stip­pled scoops and con­tours around the grip and fore end base, that scope-height cheek piece with its an­gled comb, and the thick, ven­ti­lated rub­ber butt pad. In an ideal world, per­haps the pad and cheek piece would be ad­justable, but for this price, and con­sid­er­ing the per­for­mance on of­fer, there may well be room for a post-pro­duc­tion up­grade or two. I can al­ready as­sure you that this ri­fle de­serves ev­ery en­hance­ment pos­si­ble. That would in­clude re­plac­ing the stan­dard air reser­voir bot­tle with a car­bon-fi­bre ver­sion. I haven’t a clue if such an up­grade is even pos­si­ble, but I think Kral should think se­ri­ously about of­fer­ing this as an op­tion.

BA­SIC STUFF

Let’s get back to the ba­sics of the Kral Puncher Jumbo, with a look at its shot ca­pac­ity. The ri­fle’s charg­ing pres­sure is a fa­mil­iar 200 bar – there’s an on-board pres­sure gauge to help mon­i­tor your air re­serves - and from its 425cc buddy bot­tle, you can ex­pect around 300 shots in .22 and 260 in .177, cour­tesy of Kral’s time-served, un­reg­u­lated ac­tion, which has so far re­turned an av­er­age vari­a­tion of 16 f.p.s. over the first 50 shots.

In ad­di­tion to of­fer­ing stan­dard 11mm scope mount­ing rails and the Pi­catinny op­tion, the Jumbo has a power ad­just­ment fa­cil­ity, al­beit de­signed mainly for this ri­fle’s cer­tifi­cated, high-power op­tion. At le­gal limit set­tings, the ‘power dial’ pro­vides a muz­zle en­ergy range from 9 to 11.7 ft.lbs, which trans­lates to 8 to 28 ft.lbs. in FAC .22. Def­i­nitely use­ful at on-ticket spec’, but not uni­ver­sally so at sub-12, it has to be said.

The push-fit charg­ing adap­tor can be a tad fid­dly to con­nect, and the air in­let port should have a cover of some sort to pre­vent con­tam­i­na­tion. Grit and dust re­spect no PCP, re­gard­less of price, so if you buy any air­gun with an un­pro­tected charg­ing port, you’ll need to im­pro­vise, and as soon as pos­si­ble. My lat­est con­tact with sup­pli­ers, Range Right, con­firmed that valve cover op­tions are al­ready be­ing pro­duced, so res­o­lu­tion should be close at hand.

EASY AC­TION

The Jumbo’s side-lever ac­tion isn’t as slick and ef­fort­less as some­thing elec­tronic, or the ‘me­chan­i­cal’ top guns, but ev­ery­thing does what it should in a strain-free, spring-as­sisted

There’s a whole lot of ri­fle on of­fer, here, and it comes at a price that will al­low air­gun­ners to take the PCP route for the first time. This is an im­por­tant air­gun.

All stan­dard with the Kral Jumbo.

In its el­e­ment. This is a work­ing sporter and it’s go­ing to sell in sig­nif­i­cant num­bers.

Kral pro­vides the op­tion of 11mm and Pi­catinny rails.

High-qual­ity stip­pling, an on-board pres­sure gauge and an in­let valve port cry­ing out for a cover.

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