Stock swap review: Air Arms Tactical

Air Arms tactical stock swap

Swap your stock and retain zero! Win win! - Credit: Archant

Terry Doe reviews the retro-fit Air Arms Tactical stock platform - and finds it amazingly easy to make the swap

A very few months ago, the following text formed part of a press release that announced the launch of the Air Arms S510 Tactical: ‘Stock Only Option: This platform can also be retrofitted to any S400, S410, S500 and S510 produced after 2007, including MPR FT and HFT500, without the need to alter the actions.

On rifles produced before 2007 there will be a trigger chassis conversion kit available which has the added benefit of the third trigger sear introduced in the late 2000’s, plus a safety button.

Also available for the early models is a dovetail-to-Picatinny conversion kit. These adaptors simply slide on to the dovetail scope rail built on to every S400/500 series rifle.’ 

As the planet’s least technically accomplished human, I am the perfect test vehicle upon which to trial the now, soon-to-be-released Air Arms S510 Tactical retro-fit stock, or ‘platform’ as it’s more fashionably known. Truth to tell, considering the sheer amount of gear that can be fitted to the 510 Tactical, that stock really is more of a platform than a gun-handle.

Right, that’s enough of the name games, I need to get on with the business of this article, which is to show the readership what’s involved in swapping one type of Air Arms stock, for the new Tactical model. 

Air Arms tactical stock swap

My superb S510 Ultimate Sporter was given a Tactical makeover. - Credit: Archant

GET YOUR ORDER IN NOW!
Before I do this, and at the risk of delaying things further, if you’ve decided to buy one of these retro-fit platforms, I’d urge you to stop reading this, right now, find the Air Arms advert in this issue, and use the QR graphic on it to reserve one. From the interest this product is already generating, prior to its release in July, I’m convinced that waiting for that release could lead to disappointment … and more waiting. Get in now, folks – this platform absolutely will sell out its initial production runs, and all the more so when you see how easy it is to fit. 

MINIMAL TOOLS
I carried out the stock swap you see here, fresh from a hunting session – that’s why there’s most of a tree still in my rifle case - with just two hex wrenches. These were used to remove and replace the main stock bolt – a shorter one is supplied with the Tactical platform – plus the two screws holding my S510 Ultimate Sporter’s trigger guard, which isn’t required on the Tactical platform, so that and its screws should be put away safely. Then, there are two stubby screws that secure the platform fore end … and that’s it. 

I timed myself at seven minutes, first time out, and just over three minutes on a repeat run-through. The photos show the whole deal, but here’s a step-by-step, anyway. I left the sight fixed on my rifle, mainly to see if it would retain perfect zero throughout the swap, which I’m pleased to say it did. 

FOUR STEPS TO PLATFORM PARADISE

  1. Remove the main stock bolt and trigger guard fixing screws from your rifle. If you’re in doubt about the date of its manufacture, contact Air Arms and state your rifle’s serial number. 
    Air Arms tactical stock swap

    1. After removing the original stock, unbolt the trigger guard.

  2. Separate the fore end section of the Tactical platform by removing the two, short securing screws in the underside, then fit the rear section of the Tactical platform, using the stock fixing bolt provided. Do not fully tighten the bolt at this stage.
    Air Arms tactical stock swap

    2. Separate and fit both sections of the Tactical platform, and lightly tighten the stock-retaining bolts. - Credit: Archant

  3. Slide on the fore end section of the Tactical platform, and fix it using the two short bolts provided. Then, fully tighten all three stock fixing bolts, using medium tension. As ever, don’t over-tighten any fixings. 
    Air Arms tactical stock swap

    3. Once all three stock retaining bolts are in position, tighten them down snugly, without undue tension. - Credit: Archant

  4. Check zero and scope position. That’s it – job done. 
    Air Arms tactical stock swap

    4. The rifle is ready to go, and it should not have lost zero, if you've left the scope in position, although some fine-tuning of the scope position may be required. - Credit: Archant

SO MANY EXTRAS
I’m still working my way through the box of add-ons Air Arms sent me, but I’ve spotted a few that I’ll definitely fit to the platform. That Magpul bipod would be my first acquisition, for sure, followed by the QD sling swivels and their matching M-LOK mounts. That M-LOK system is the genuine article, by the way, as used by discerning shooters the world over. These sling swivels and their mounts are made from aluminium, whereas the various Picatinny rails on offer are moulded from hi-impact polymer, providing strength without incurring a weight penalty. Having considered the many and varied options the new platform accommodates, I can see why tactical rifles are so often decked out with all manner of gun lamps, lasers, sights, slings and seriously tempting extras. 

Air Arms tactical stock swap

Soooo many goodies to think about! - Credit: Archant

Most Read

WHY WOULD YOU SWAP?
My Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter has a quite superb stock, and one that I’ve used to such good effect since the day I tested the prototype, so, why on earth would I swap it for a Tactical platform? Personally, I’m going to do some filming with the rifle you see here, and that includes shooting from the cab of a pickup, where the rifle will suffer its unfair share of clattering around. Being able to shorten the stock when required could prove useful, too, but I’ll find out the full score as I use it, and you can see the result on our Shooting & Country TV channel. 
Others will no doubt just want to bolt on that Tactical stock and explore the possibilities of a rifle system that’s gaining in popularity by the day, especially among airgunners. Whatever the reason for swapping, I’ll repeat my advice to get in early to reserve one! 

PRICES
Tactical platform kit: £347.99
Replacement trigger chassis for Air Arms models before 2007: £39.99
Accessories: Bipod £143, other accessories shown, from £16.49 to £35.99. 
Go to the Air Arms website