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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.