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Gun Test: Daystate Griffin

PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:09 17 November 2016

Looks the part, and shoots it too

Looks the part, and shoots it too

Archant

Terry Doe takes a look at the much-anticpated all-new production rifle from Daystate

When Daystate released the special edition Griffin, it sold out inside three days. All 150, gone. At the same time, there was a statement to the effect that another version was forthcoming, once time and schedules allowed. Well, here it is – the production Griffin.

Overview

The Griffin is Daystate’s first new, entirely mechanical, production rifle for quite a few years. According to Daystate, it’s been produced mainly due to the tremendous demand generated by the special edition, and to offer a more ‘target focused’ version of the company’s Regal sporter.

There are a couple of lessons learned from the SE Griffin’s production, notably a specially developed Huggett moderator and the addition of a quick-adjustable facility on the rifle’s palm rest.

The Griffin will take your sporting talent anywhere you want to goThe Griffin will take your sporting talent anywhere you want to go

The most noticeable difference between SE and production Griffins, though, has to be the matte-silver finish to the latter’s barrel shroud, moderator and air reservoir. We can add the rifle’s barrel support band and filler valve cap to that list of silver stuff, plus the new adjuster knob on the palm shelf, all of which harmonise perfectly with the Griffin’s silver anodised breech block, trigger guard and target style shoe of a trigger blade.

Add a highly polished, stainless steel cocking bolt, and as far as the new Griffin’s metalwork goes, it’s what we call a striking visual presentation. There’s a practical purpose there too, in that the finish reflects heat better than the standard blueing.

The blue-grey, targetised, laminate thumbhole stock is designed by the genius that is Gary Cane and it’s as found on the SE, including an omni-directional butt pad, that similarly-shiftable cheek piece and those sexy slots along the top line of the fore end.

Not the previous 'special edition', but special all the sameNot the previous 'special edition', but special all the same

I’d love to be able to report a shelf on the scalloped grip, but there isn’t one, so I’d be having one expertly made and fitted. I do like to ‘hang’ my trigger hand as I think it helps control let-off far better, which aids accuracy. More of the Griffin’s potential to make precisely-gathered holes in target cards, later. Let’s finish the grand, or in this case, £1,500, tour.

First impressions

If you’re laying out that kind of money for an air rifle, it needs to be love at first sight. The reaction so far, at least from the 30 or so airgunners who have shot with me while I’ve been testing the Griffin, has been mostly one of, ‘Blimey, I bet that costs a few quid!’

More experienced viewers seemed to like it, a couple of my more oikish chums said it was too lairy to take hunting and it needed some cammo tape on the action, and younger shooters simply drooled over it. Personally, I’d prefer a more ‘titanium than silver’ finish, but I’m not really fussed about that. I just want it to shoot to the standard of the special edition Griffin.

It's always good to see a Huggett silencer in the mixIt's always good to see a Huggett silencer in the mix

Facts and figures

First job, get the supplied snap-fit charging connector screwed on to my air tank’s hose, and install a 190 bar charge of compressed air. The 144cc air reservoir will now have sufficient compression to power 110, 11-plus ft.lbs. shots in .177 and just over 130 in .22. There’s a high power, FAC, option available in .22, and from the same charge of its slightly larger (162cc), reservoir, the production Griffin supplies 40 shots at 30 ft.lbs.

It uses the same latest Harper Slingshot hammer set-up, so it was no surprise when the numbers from the new model all but matched those of the previous incarnation. The average energy virtually flat-lined at 11.6 ft.lbs. on the first charge, then settled at 11.5, with a 12 f.p.s. variation over the first 60 shots from the charge.

A quick-adjust palm shelf now comes as standardA quick-adjust palm shelf now comes as standard

Exactly as the previous Griffin, this example hit peak consistency five shots into the fresh charge, although we’re talking only about 9 f.p.s. difference between the first shot and the sixth. On the range, this is impossible to see in terms of pellet-drop, so for the rest of the test I didn’t bother with the five warm-up shots and got straight into the accuracy testing.

Accuracy report

These rifle costs serious money, so although the accuracy return is truly impressive, we need to look at this level of performance in an entirely realistic way.

The 20-inch Lothar Walther, match grade barrel fitted to the Griffin is Daystate’s latest bore configuration and has nothing to prove at any level because its performance is a given. Many companies have their own barrel specifications and none of them will reveal what these are, but they all do the job, perhaps in different ways for various reasons.

See those cheek piece adjustment options? Please use them allSee those cheek piece adjustment options? Please use them all

Given wind-free conditions, this Griffin can keep 10 pellets inside a 15mm diameter circle at 40 yards, and inside an 18mm diameter one at 50. It could probably do better, but that’s up to the skills of its handlers.

Preferred pellets were, again, the same as the SE, with the old Daystate Sovereign, some new Air Arms Diabolo Field and my rapidly dwindling batch of yonks-old JSBs matching each other millimetre for millimetre on my target cards.

Trigger test

You have to love a 3D butt padYou have to love a 3D butt pad

The Griffin has a quite superb trigger, it’s as simple as that. It’s an entirely mechanical unit and takes the form of a ‘shoe on a stick’, which lends itself to total adjustment and a perfect union with the tip of the trigger finger.

Take the time to get your trigger presentation perfect and you’ll get the most from what you paid for. Make sure you apply that mindset to the rest of the rifle too.

Stock evaluation

There’s no point paying for a stock like this if you don’t explore its every benefit. This takes hours and you’ll probably still be making subtle changes for days after the initial setup, possibly weeks.

This is a superior trigger setupThis is a superior trigger setup

Make those changes and get the stock geometry perfect and, again, your expenditure is working fully for you. Stock fit is personal, so please spend those hours, days and weeks in the wise pursuit of perfection. I really can’t over-play this part of the accuracy equation. This rifle has a superior stock fitted – your exploration of its features must be thorough.

Initial verdict

Is the new Griffin a practical shooting machine or a showpiece? It’s very much the former. Yes, it looks flash, but it’s an accommodating vehicle for accuracy designed to express and exploit your shooting talent.

In purely practical terms, the Griffin has been designed to perform like a competition rifle, in any sort of climate, and offer every assistance to its shooter.

This rifle can coax even a rough old country boy like me toward the lyrical.

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Daystate

Model: Griffin

Country of origin: UK

Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot/single shot sporter/match rifle

Calibre: .22, .177

Cocking: Bolt action

Loading: Via removable, rotary 10-shot magazine, or single-shot tray

Trigger: 2-stage, adjustable for length of stage, let-off weight and shoe position

Safety: Manual, rotary

Stock type: Ambidextrous, thumbhole laminate, with adjustable palm shelf , 3D adjustable butt pad and cheek piece

Weight: 4.3kg (9lbs 8oz)

Length: 1166 mm (42 ins)

Barrel: 508mm (20 ins) fitted with dedicated Huggett silencer assembly

Fill pressure: 190 bar

Air cylinder capacity: 144cc (162cc for FAC)

Shots per charge: 130 in .22, 110 in .177, 40 at 30 ft.lbs. in .22 for FAC

Variation over 50 shots: 12 fps for .177 on test

Average energy: 11.5 ft.lbs.

Options: High-power model, left-hand bolt, swivels, bipod

Price: £1,500

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