Top Value Guns

Tim Fin­ley tri­als the ‘ul­ti­mate ju­nior PCP’ in the BSA Ul­tra JSR

Airgun World - - Contents -

Tim Fin­ley re­views a new in­car­na­tion of the BSA Ul­tra - a small ri­fle ideal for ju­niors

Ihave a mas­sive fond­ness for BSA air­guns. My first two air ri­fles were BSAs; first a sec­ond-hand Su­per Me­teor, then a brand spank­ing new one for Christ­mas when I was 14. Back then, the Me­teor was seen as a starter or ju­nior ri­fle, but times have moved on apace, and with the rise of pre-charged pneu­matic air ri­fles even those are avail­able in a starter or ju­nior for­mat. BSA has a strong ethic to pro­mote younger shoot­ers and it shows in both their prod­uct line and the good work they do by sup­port­ing the devel­op­ment of young­sters.

The Ul­tra PCP from BSA was an in­stant suc­cess when it was launched back in 2005. I bought one of the early ones and fit­ted it with a syn­thetic fold­ing stock, but the cur­rent in­car­na­tion of the Ul­tra is quite dif­fer­ent to the one I bought. Gone is the front cock­ing sys­tem, and the new one has a 10-shot magazine – mine was sin­gle shot. There are other changes, too; the stock is am­bidex­trous, and the bar­rel 50mm longer.

STUPIDLY QUIET

The sub­ject of this re­view is the JSR Ul­tra. It’s a ded­i­cated starter ri­fle built to the same ex­act­ing stan­dards as BSA’s adult air­guns, and so it should be. When you han­dle the Ul­tra, even the ‘nor­mal’ one, it’s not a big ri­fle. The JSR has a slightly shorter length of pull to ac­com­mo­date the smaller frames of young shoot­ers, so the dis­tance from the trig­ger to the back of the stock, at 290mm is per­fect, and you can sim­ply up­grade the stock for a full-size syn­thetic ver­sion when they out­grow the small one, so that’s a bonus.

The main dif­fer­ence with the JSR is its power level which is set to 6 ft.lbs. This is a de­lib­er­ate choice, and one I think BSA have got spot on. When start­ing out, new shoot­ers must limit the range at which they shoot. It’s counter-pro­duc­tive to get them shoot­ing at 55-yard tar­gets straight off the bat be­cause they will only be­come dis­heart­ened when they are not knock­ing down tar­gets at that range.

By halv­ing the power, the young­ster can fo­cus on what the pel­let is do­ing, rather than what bangs and noises the gun is mak­ing. Af­ter shoot­ing a 12 ft.lbs. PCP, putting pel­lets down­range with the 6 ft.lbs. JSR is like us­ing a video-game gun – it’s to­tally dead, and the small noise it does make is like noth­ing from the full-power ri­fle. I even put a mod­er­a­tor onto the JSR which put a lit­tle weight into the front end and also made the gun stupidly quiet.

SIM­PLE SYS­TEM

The bar­rel is threaded for ½” UNF and has a thread pro­tec­tor col­lar and the ri­fle is filled via the sim­plest sys­tem out there cur­rently, the

“up­grade the stock for a full-size syn­thetic ver­sion, when they out­grow the small one”

probe fill. It has a dust cover that has to be re­moved first, which re­veals the charg­ing hole – just stick the brass probe in and away you go. To check on your air us­age the JSR, as all mod­ern Ul­tras, has a pres­sure gauge un­der the ac­tion, and max­i­mum fill pres­sure is 232bar or 3365 psi.

Over the chrono­graph, the gun gave me 100 shots with 7.9 grain pel­lets, and a 232 bar fill all at around 5.8 ft.lbs.

The 183mm-long, 11mm scope rail runs the full length of the ac­tion, and it has a cut-out on the right-hand side to in­sert the 10-shot magazine. We all know how to load this type of ro­tary magazine, so I won’t bore you with that, but one cool thing with the BSA ver­sion is the white dot that ap­pears on the bot­tom of the magazine to tell the shooter they have reached the last pel­let. You can see this on the left-hand side of the ac­tion, with a magazine in­serted.

AS­SURED AC­CU­RACY

The JSR comes in both .22 and .177, us­ing BSA’s world-fa­mous, ham­mer-forged bar­rels, so ac­cu­racy is as­sured. I was not dis­ap­pointed. It one-holed at six yards – and don’t think you can’t shoot out to 45 yards with a 6 ft.lbs. air ri­fle. You can – you just need to give more Ken­tucky windage, but it might not knock over a stiff metal FT tar­get. For pure short-range, back gar­den use, the JSR is the per­fect ri­fle, even for adult shoot­ers. If you love your back gar­den shoot­ing that’s less then 20 yards, then the JSR is su­perb. You just don’t need a 12 ft.lbs. air ri­fle in your back gar­den; with a mod­er­a­tor on, the sound of your pel­lets hit­ting your tar­gets will be the loud­est thing any­one, in­clud­ing your neigh­bours, can hear.

The JSR has a manual safety catch on the left rear of the ac­tion, which you flick for­ward for the ‘fire’ mode, and back to­ward you for ‘safe’ – F and S, of course. As al­ways, I’d en­cour­age the use of the safety at all times. Just flick to ‘safe’ af­ter you have fired your last shot.

The trig­ger weight is light and pre­dictable at 0.5kg, adding to the JSR’s ac­cu­racy down­range, as does BSA’s world-fa­mous, cold-ham­mer forged bar­rel. Ex­pect sub 20mm groups even in in­ex­pe­ri­enced hands at 25m.

VER­DICT

Over­all the JSR is an im­pres­sive diminu­tive pack­age, and for a ju­nior PCP I can­not rec­om­mend it enough.

My thanks to Si­mon and Hay­ley for help in pro­duc­tion of this ar­ti­cle.

Side views of the BSA Ul­tra fit­ted with a Sim­mons White­tail 1-5 x 20 scope.

Grip pan­els are pro­vided on the fore end, too.

The safety catch in the ‘fire’ po­si­tion.

A filler gauge lets you know how much air you have left.

Un­screw the end cap and you have a charg­ing port. It’s a 10-shot magazine.

Er­gonom­i­cally, the bolt is good. The .177 mag­a­zines have a blue drum.

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