Gun test: second-hand Kral NP02
- Credit: Archant
What’s hot on the second-hand air rifle scene? Pete Evans takes a look at a recent bargain purchase to see what you can get for your money on the second -hand market
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Last month, I promised to show you some recent purchases of my own to illustrate what you might be likely to encounter on the second-hand market. Rather than show you a few models each month, I intend to keep it to one, with a little background, overview of the condition and some explanation of why I actually bought it, rather than just using the well-worn phrase, ‘I always fancied one of those’.
I think it’s important to include the purchase price, which I promise will always be the ticket price, and not some haggled one, and of course. the source of the gun. I use the phrase ‘recent’ with some licence because owing to the restrictions we find ourselves with, it’s not possible to travel and buy as we used to, but be assured, all will have been acquired over the last two years.
Turkey is not a country that immediately comes to mind when you think about airgun manufacturing, although there are a couple of companies making a name for themselves on the airgun scene, and Kral has been making shotguns, and latterly airguns for the past 25 years, with 99.5% of their products exported to 40 countries. Their workforce of 250 is committed to making quality products at a price accessible to the widest of audiences. Kral products are imported by Range Right Ltd, who have an experienced airgunsmith to support the product line, which is all very reassuring.
When Kral launched the NP01 pistol, many – including me – spotted the potential that this tactical format had to offer, which was limited by the fact that it was a pistol and therefore tuned to the 6 ft.lb. limit.
The opportunity was not lost by Kral because they offered up their NP02 model, which offered a full-power, pre-charged rifle, for a measly £369. Superb value, I’m sure you’ll agree, but even better if you have the opportunity to take the second-hand route.
My own NP02 was bought from the second-hand gun rack of Neath gunshop, and was in fact only a few weeks old. Alarm bells often ring when someone decides to sell a gun after owning it for just a few weeks, so what’s the story here? It seems that the age-old story of not trying before buying was to blame, and in this case it was the length to pull that fell foul of the new owner. I was told that the 420cc bottle configuration, coupled with the adjustable butt pad, became a curse rather than a blessing for the owner, who could not get comfortable with it. The moral here is to check gun fit before parting with the folded stuff. Still, I’m not complaining because I was able to profit from the situation – every cloud has a silver lining, and all that. Time I think to take a closer look at what I got for the money.
WHAT A LOT FOR NOT A LOT!
From the factory, the NP02 is supplied with two magazines, a single-shot loader, fill adaptor, some spare ‘O’ rings and a case. All these accessories, minus the case were supplied, and all appeared to be virtually unused.
The gun itself features a very nicely sculptured, oil-finished walnut stock, with the aforementioned buddy bottle covered with a plastic shield, which also incorporates the adjustable butt pad. The combination of the bottle and the fore-end reservoir give a combined capacity of 530cc, which when charged to 200 bar gives a useful 200 shots in .22 cal.
Cocking the action comes via a sidelever, unusually sited on the left, which along with the ambidextrous cheekpiece will please the left-handed shooters amongst us. The lever itself operates smoothly as does the ‘clockwork-style’ 12-shot magazine, which enters the gun’s action backwards from the right.
Each of its shots are released by a two-stage adjustable trigger, and I was led to believe that mine retained the factory setting, which I must say is spot on for my taste.
Interestingly, this gun comes with a power adjustment wheel. I really need to spend some more time exploring this to get the full range quantified. Some would cite that power adjustment on a sub-12 ft.lbs. gun is of limited value, which on the face of it seems a reasonable thought. However, reducing power for garden shooting, or using inside buildings can make a lot of sense, so a round of applause for Kral for including it. Quick-fills and pressure gauges have become obligatory features; the ability to protect the fill port is also important. The NP02 ticks all these boxes, and you will never lose the port cover because it rotates to cover the charging port.
Any pre-charged gun will need a moderator, whether you intend hunting, or just want to shoot some cans in the garden, so thankfully, an industry standard 1/2 UNF thread adorns the muzzle.
With only minimal use, the gun itself was in excellent condition, with no discernible marks, and it worked faultlessly. As well as the standard features, there were also a couple of useful accessories included.
Weihrauch moderators, in my view, are one of the best available, both in terms of form and function, and so I was very pleased that one was already fitted to this gun. The NP02 is a scope-only affair, so the inclusion of a Hawke Panorama 2-7 x 32 scope really was the icing on the cake. Although the gun was covered by a three-month warranty, scope cover was not included, nor would this be covered by Hawke because it was a second-hand deal. Despite this, I had high hopes because the scope itself looked brand new, and knowing Hawke’s reputation for durability, I was sure I would not be disappointed. Out on the range, the whole outfit worked flawlessly, consistent accuracy being the overriding observation.
WHAT'S THE ATTRACTION?
So what induced me to buy this particular outfit? I was inquisitive to find out what a rifle in this price bracket could offer – remember, this gun new is only £369, which in the world of PCPs is super value for money. Despite a low price tag, if the gun turned out to offer poor performance it’s basically a waste of money.
Having spent some time with this gun, it’s difficult to work out how Kral can offer so much for the money. It’s easy to see how this rifle has become so popular, designed as a field sporter, but equally usable on the range, such is its versatility.
All that’s left to say is how much this sweet little combination set me back – £250 was enough to carry off the whole lot, which doing the maths, is around half the new price.
There you are, that’s the story of my bargain Kral NP02. Next month, I’m going to tell you about a rare variant of a popular model from Weihrauch, which I had just a 1 in 163 chance of getting my hands on.