Editor's gun test: Daystate Red Wolf Serie Rosso
PUBLISHED: 12:15 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:33 09 May 2018
The editor tests the very first of the limited edition Daystate Red Wolf Serie Rosso
The striking example of pre-charged technology you’ll see in this article is Daystate’s latest special edition supergun. It costs a single quid short of £2500 and by the time you read this, the once-only, strictly limited run of 200 will be close to selling out. Some of those who secure a Serie Rosso will rarely, if ever, shoot them; some will enjoy a careful session or two on the range, and a very few will do what I’ve been doing, and shoot their rifles to the limit...but with due care and attention.
Let’s not be silly, here, this isn’t a standard test. The rifle I have right now is serial number 001 and it belongs to Mauro Marocchi, Daystate’s owner, so I’m duty-bound to take extreme care of it. I’d do the same with anyone’s gun, mind, because that’s how it should be when someone loans you a cherished rifle, whatever its monetary value.
In practical terms, this means I won’t be doing what I usually do when I test a new rifle. Normally, the manufacturers will ask, actually insist, I use and heavily abuse, what they’ve sent me. Often, I’ll have seen it during its development and my thoughts and findings will have been factored in before the final prototype, but testing the first production sample is a traditionally robust process, where I get to sling the rifle around a bit and shoot it in the worst conditions I can find. As I write, the snow has returned and it brings with it no shortage of hideous trials and tribulations for any rifle, but I won’t be using the Serie Rosso as a snow shovel, or burying it for hours under freezing drifts.
Instead, I’ll thoroughly explore its shooting abilities and its many features, because this limited edition rifle represents the unlimited potential of the production Red Wolf, which will be owned by many, many more than 200 people who want something truly special.
A tour o’ Rosso
I plan to work my way around the test rifle, discussing and exploring its every major and minor feature. There are quite a few to work through and obviously the internal science won’t be visible, but Red Wolf owners will be supplied a complete schematic of the rifle’s internals as part of the comprehensive instruction booklet. It’s a fascinating document and despite my lack of micro-technical skills, I’ve spent ages studying it. Anyway, enough of the scene-setting, let’s begin the grand, or in this case, two-and-a-half-grand, tour.
The Minelli stock
I’ve had shooters literally queuing for a go of this rifle, and after checking their hands for grubbiness and their clothing for potentially threatening zips, studs and badges, I’ve allowed a few to have a fondle. The praise for this ambidextrous, red-grey laminated sporter stock has been universal, especially for the production quality, fit and finish, but the real deal is the adjustability afforded by an adjustable cheek piece and butt pad. The cheek piece shifts sideways as well as up and down, and as ever, new owners are duty bound to spend hours tailoring the fit and perfecting head-eye-scope alignment.
The grip is full, slightly raked and comes perfectly stippled with three sculpted finger grooves. There’s a discreet thumb scoop to assist perfect hand placement, and the base of the grip is capped in matte synthetic. The grip also houses the rifle’s rechargeable battery pack, which lives under a hinged lid. Personally, I’d have liked to see the grip cap made slightly oversize to serve as a palm shelf, but the ergonomics of that grip make it a truly superior platform for the trigger hand.
It’s always a design challenge to incorporate a buddy bottle into a rifle’s fore end and keep the lines flowing and the handling where it needs to be. The Serie Rosso uses the company’s carbon-fibre Hi-Lite bottle and the forestock sweeps into the mottled grey of the reservoir, leaving an angled lip on its leading edge.
The presence of that lightweight buddy bottle reduces heft (obviously), and it definitely benefits the overall balance of the rifle, which is an unseen feature among so many visible ones.
Overall stock assessment
This stock is the rifle’s most immediately noticeable feature, and once you’ve used the Serie Rosso, you’ll appreciate it as a major advantage. The ‘user interface’ aspect of the stock do everything they need to do, whilst the myriad grooves, curves and cutaways combine to steer the eye, as the rest of the woodwork guides the hands and head. Add the hi-gloss finish, striking red tint, and the way the grip cap, screen surround and butt pad harmonise with the rifle’s action block, barrel shroud and bottle, and you confirm the source of the universal praise I mentioned earlier. In short, this is a high-performance work of art that will work extremely well for the production Red Wolf.
I’m assured that the production Red Wolf stock will be an exact replica of this one, apart from the proportion of red in the laminate. There will be an option of walnut or grey-black laminate, and the latter has red incorporated within the colour scheme. I’m also told that, due to the preponderance of red in the make-up and its tendency to show up every microscopic mark, the Serie Rosso stock was an absolute nightmare to produce. Once perfected, though, several coats of super-tough varnish gave it some serious protection and all involved at Minelli and Daystate were happy with the final result. You’ll see why when you get to handle one.
This a fully electronic action, with its computerised internals based on an uprated version of those that control Daystate’s Pulsar bullpup. The visible manifestation of what’s going on inside the hi-tech heart of the Serie Rosso comes via a small integrated screen on the left-hand side of the stock, which displays the state of the rifle’s air reserves, its power mode, and, should you wish, you can see how many pellets you have left in the 10-shot, removable, rotary magazine. These three display and setting options are toggled through the rifle’s sidelever and trigger and everything is explained in perfect plain-speak within the manual supplied. This is an extremely technical system, but I assure you it’s simplicity itself to operate and run. As I keep saying, if I can do it, anyone can. This is a recognised fact.
Left or right?
The Red Wolf is a fully ambidextrous rifle, with a super-slick sidelever that can be swapped from side to side to suit southpaws and right-handed folk alike. The same goes for the magazine, thanks to a removable ‘stop-pin’ that allows the mag’ to be inserted from left or right. The safety catch is centrally located and just a thumb-swipe away, and the post-mounted trigger blade can swivel to meet a finger pad coming in from left or right. Versatility meets control in just about the best way I’ve ever seen in a Daystate rifle.
Within the rifle’s carbon-fibre barrel shroud sits a fully-floating, 17-inch, match grade, Lothar Walther barrel, and throughout my tests it’s doing everything it’s supposed to do, as far as creating tight clusters of pellets on target cards at various ranges. I have to stress that half-inch groups at 50 yards under perfect conditions no longer send shockwaves through this airgun world of ours. In fact, I was nailing groups like that around 20 years ago, but there’s a difference with rifles like the Serie Rosso and the FX Crown I’m also testing right now.
Making life easier
The fact is, while my own shooting skills aren’t that much different, especially off a bench rest, putting together micro-groups with a rifle like this just seems easier. The pellets leave with less ‘reaction’ from the rifle, the shot-to-shot consistency is better, so that builds confidence, plus of course the pellets themselves are better and don’t need the preparation process we were convinced was compulsory a couple of decades ago. More importantly still, when the Red Wolf comes off the bench and is allowed to display the practical benefits of its superior ergonomics and handling, it literally tips the balance in favour of its shooter. I say again, rifles of this quality make it easier to hit your target, and that’s a massive advantage.
Electronic triggers aren’t required to do much more than act as switches, which puts their mechanisms, such as they are, under far less stress than mechanical examples. The Serie Rosso trigger is a perfect example of this, operating as it does with total control and no discernable effort. That ‘roving’ trigger shoe is ideally curved to accommodate any finger at any angle, and it’s so pleasingly efficient, it actually makes me smile. Yes, that’s beyond tragic, but it’s these tiny pleasures that combine to make sad old airgunners like me extremely happy.
This test is more about what’s to come from Daystate’s production Red Wolf, than the Serie Rosso supergun. Everything the rifle on test can do, the ‘standard’ rifle can match. All changes are cosmetic, apart from the inclusion of the Serie Rosso’s padded hard case, so you’ll have to sort your own gun bag for a Red Wolf. That’s no big deal, and most of us prefer a more convenient soft case, anyway, so what I’ve produced with the Serie Rosso really does represent the Red Wolf.
I clocked a 6 f.p.s. average variation over 50 shots, and added just 2 f.p.s. to that when I recorded 100 shots. This is electronic regulation at its finest and Daystate must be seriously happy with the latest tweak to their technology. I know I am, and I’m also happy to state that this rifle is the best of any I’ve ever tested from Daystate. You might be too late to grab a Serie Rosso, but if you’re thinking about a Red Wolf, you really do need to get to a shop and handle one. I think you’ll be as impressed as I am.
Model: Red Wolf/Serie Rosso special edition
Country of origin: UK
Price: £2499 for limited edition Serie Rosso, £1799 to £1949 for production rifle
Type: Electronic, pre-charged, 10-shot, ambidextrous sporter
Calibres: .22, .177, .25 and .303 for hi-power models
Loading: Via removable, rotary 10-shot magazine
Trigger: Electronic 2-stage, adjustable
Stock-type: Ambidextrous, adjustable laminated or walnut
Weight: 3.4kg (7.5lbs), unscoped
Length: 990 (39 inches), 1143 (45ins) for hi-power
Barrel length: 432mm (17ins), 584mm (23ins) for hi-power models
Fill pressure: 200 bar
Shots per charge: 450-plus in .22, sub-12 ft.lbs. for each charge of the 480cc bottle
Variation over 50 shots: 6 fps for .177 on test
Average energy: 11-plus ft.lbs. up to 70 ft.lbs. for hi-power models
Contact: Daystate on 01785 859122