Gun test: Daystate Red Wold (in Midnight Blue)

Mark Camoccio shooting the Daystate Red Wold in Midnight Blue

That beautiful cheek section is fully adjustable - Credit: Archant

Mark Camoccio gets to grips with an electronically-powered stunner from Daystate in this review of the Red Wolf in Midnight Blue

the Daystate Red Wold in Midnight Blue

Precision Rifle Systems make the custom rail - Credit: Archant

As a manufacturer, Daystate are undoubtedly true pioneers in their field, yet their electronically-controlled air rifles inevitably divide opinion. Traditionalists will say there is more to go wrong, and if you compare these creations to up-market cars, then there is an element of truth in that. A top flight Range Rover does have more to go wrong than a base model Ford Escort, but it’s the trickle down of technical innovation that so often benefits all, in time. Plus, it’s undeniable that those technological advances and an extra level of sophistication add  hugely to the experience for many. 

So it is with top-of-the-range airguns. If you are the worrying kind, perhaps the fact that Daystate now offer a three-year guarantee with their models, will ease the decision. One thing’s for sure, though, this cutting-edge brand has had huge success with the Red Wolf models, and not just in terms of sales. Look to the results of the Extreme Bench Rest competitions in the USA, and the Red Wolf, in the equally delicious Red Rosso guise, has often seen off the opposition. 

PRS Extended Rail

We'll focus on that PRS Extended Rail in part 2 - Credit: Archant

Mutual Respect 
On test here is the Red Wolf Midnight, and this tasty piece of hardware will set you back a cool £2303. Serious money in anyone’s book, but these specialist models come crammed with features to tantalise the most demanding of airgun aficionados, and that includes, as mentioned, hard-won respect at the business end of international competition.  

I’ll also be highlighting a rather special add-on accessory from PRS, (Precision Rifle Systems), which has been produced to satisfy demand from Daystate owners, for a bolt-on accessory rail. So some meaty hardware all round here, aimed at the top end of the market. 

Daystate Red Wold in Midnight Blue

The Midnight stock i truly stunning - Credit: Archant

Mesmerising Midnight 
‘Midnight’ refers to that stock formed from laminate in blue and grey. For the uninitiated, laminate stocks are made by bonding several layers of wood together, and by using alternate layers of different coloured wood, the result is a multi-coloured blank with which to work. As the final shape is cut, different layers and colours are then exposed and the results are not only incredibly strong and stable, but also visually dramatic and beautiful.

This midnight stock is truly stunning, to the point where my pal, Mark, who lends a hand with photographic tasks, literally stopped in his tracks, mouth open, then snapped back into focus with, “Blimey, that’s gorgeous!”  He’s not the sort to be easily impressed either, but he’s got a point here. 

Daystate Red Wold in Midnight Blue

One massive stock bolt holds the action - Credit: Archant

Tech Talk-Power Delivery 
So to the technical specification of this most elegant creation. Full electronic power management and an electronic trigger are here, and with Daystate’s rolling development, what we see is the result of years of fine tweaking and refinement. Let’s start by pointing out that the safety slide sitting at the rear of the action, is actually the on/off switch. Power delivery for these models comes via Daystate’s MCT system, and this stands for ‘Mapped Compensated Technology’.

Originally developed for the ground-breaking Pulsar rifle, MCT sees electronic management of the firing cycle. A digital microprocessor and solenoid-powered air valve monitor and control velocity, by compensating for the change in the on-board air supply. More shots and less movement are the result.  

Buddy bottle systems invariably offer a sizeable shot count, and the Red Wolf is no exception – and that’s as it should be, given the sizeable 480cc carbon-fibre bottle neatly stowed up front. 450 shots in .177 calibre and 500 in .22 is a rough guide, so no worrying about air top-ups too often. 

Daystate Red Wold in Midnight Blue

The trigger is fully adjustable and quite superb - Credit: Archant

Electronic Trigger 
Several manufacturers have dabbled with electronic triggers over the years, but Daystate’s perseverance has paid off. I’ve always been obsessed with a super-light, precise trigger release, and that’s exactly what we get here. It’s adjustable for second-stage contact, second-stage let-off, first-stage weight, and first-stage travel. Oh, and the blade is adjustable, too. In short, it’s excellent! 

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A battery power pack comes supplied with the Red Wolf, to recharge the Li-PO battery stored in the pistol grip, but this is nothing to worry about, given the long intervals and thousands of shots before the battery power drops. The user gets a prompt in the LCD display too, so it’s all very civilised.  Residual air pressure is also shown in the display, (effectively the gauge), and the action can be programmed to bleep when all ten shots from the magazine are used up.  It’s all very clever, and will appeal to a certain type of shooter, who appreciates such niceties.   

Daystate Red Wold in Midnight Blue

Daystate's Red Wolf- in Midnight Blue, with custom Extended Rail from PR - Credit: Archant

Stock Options and More 
Back to that delicious stock, and setting the adjustable elements to suit is a simple task. The cheek section is fully adjustable. Pull out the cheek section, and subtle lateral adjustment can be achieved via small screws underneath. As for the butt section, just slacken the rear bolt, for up/down movement, or again for a cast left or right, remove the pad and access to the small bolt beneath.   

The Red Wolf’’s trigger acts as a programming switch as on other Daystate models, and here, power can be adjusted between low and high power. An excellent manual is supplied so there are full instructions on how to toggle through and change the settings.