PUBLISHED: 11:52 23 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:52 23 September 2014
Matt Clark is impressed by the Thor … even if it is blue
Every airgun manufacturer is jumping on the gas-ram bandwagon and Norica is no exception. However, the Thor is a little bit different. It’s blue. Not a subtle blue, but a very bright blue. It could be described as Smurf blue, or if you are of the younger generation, Avatar blue.
Of course, the Junior Thor is designed for young people. It’s power is limited to just under 9ft.lbs, making it easier to cock and the stock (which is blue, if you hadn’t gathered) is a little shorter than average, making it more wieldy for a youngster. Quite why a sub 9 ft.lbs. junior rifle should be named after a hammer-wielding Norse god, or a Marvel Comic character, I don’t know. However, there were two other things that puzzled me. Why was the rifle blue, and why was a gas-ram used on a junior rifle, when a springer is generally easier to cock?
No one could tell me why the stock was blue. I asked everyone and short of asking Norica in Spain (because I don’t speak the lingo) I couldn’t find an answer. However, you might argue that as the Thor is principally a target gun a blue stock is perfectly acceptable. You also see a lot of youngsters on the hunter field target circuit using rifles with stocks that are pink, yellow and even bright green. The important thing is, the ambidextrous synthetic stock is properly proportioned for a youngster in their early teens. The stock is well made and would handle a bit of rough and tumble that the rifles of younger shooters tend to be subjected to.
Moving on to the gas-ram system (GRS) I actually found that it wasn’t as hard to cock as I’d feared it might be. This is probably because the rifle is limited to just under 9ft.lbs., making the recoil, which can be savage on gas-rams, more manageable.
Norica have also done a superb job of engineering the rifle so that it is refined. The stock, with its ventilated butt pad, absorbs the recoil and the action is smooth, so it doesn’t thump you in the shoulder like Thor’s hammer.
I was beginning to be impressed by this rifle, even if it was blue, but the best was yet to come. When I tested the rifle on the range I discovered it had a very good trigger with a crisp and predictable let-off point. Anyone who reads my reviews regularly will know that the ultimate for me is an affordable springer or gas-ram with a good trigger.
On a rifle meant for beginners, a predictable let-off point is important because the young shooter can time their breathing properly to gain greater accuracy. Also, triggers that are ‘creepy’ (that is don’t have a crisp let-off point) can cause youngsters to flinch when the sear finally releases and the gun fires, which ruins any hope of accuracy.
The groups I got with the Thor were pretty impressive. At about 20 metres, I was grouping well within an inch. Had I spent longer with the rifle, I’m sure these groups could have been tightened up even more. I used the tru-glo open sights, but again, the groups would have been better if I’d bolted a scope to the rifle. It’s nice to have the option of open sights and telescopic sights, especially as this is a youngster’s rifle because at that age many of us can’t afford a scope and a rifle at the same time, so the rifle gets bought first followed by a scope. The scope rails have an arrestor block, which is what you need for a recoiling rifle like this to stop the scope moving and the zero shifting.
Although this is an affordable rifle, it is not short on features. It comes with an automatic safety catch located near the trigger blade and the muzzle is ergonomically shaped, making it easier to cock the rifle.
The Thor would be ideal for backyard plinking, or informal paper target shooting for a young person, or a small adult. It was well balanced, accurate and refined. Theoretically, the Thor could also be used to hammer rats, its short stock making it more wieldy in the confines of a farm building. For £149 you get a lot of rifle and it is excellent value for money.
Personally, after shooting it, I forgot the stock was blue. After all, you should never judge by appearances because it’s the performance that counts. n