Editor’s gun test: The Daystate Genus
- Credit: Archant
Meet the limited edition Daystate Genus – and the people who will own it
The Daystate Genus represents more than the company's latest limited edition special; it's the rifle chosen to embody the spirit, philosophy and yes, the genus of Daystate, and the 40-year evolution of the founding father of the modern pre-charged pneumatic. Just 200 of them will be produced, they'll all sell as fast as they can be supplied, and they'll be bought by several, clearly-defined types of person. Let's first take a close look at the rifle itself, after which we'll study its owners. Read carefully, I could be talking about you.
Origin of species
The mainframe of the Daystate Genus is the company's foundation rifle, the bolt-action Huntsman, and with 40 years of company history to celebrate, there was really no other choice. The distinctive lines of the Huntsman are there to see, too, albeit under the hi-tech gilding of this fully-functioning, £1,848 super-sporter.
Features and functions
Two things immediately impress the first-time observer, as the gold/bronze action vies for prominence with the laminated stock. A pause to take in detail reveals the metalwork of the Genus to be punctuated by touches of gold, black and silver, whilst the flowing path taken by the eye is diverted along the action block, down the fully-shrouded barrel, and around the intertwining grooves of the 0DB silencer system.
Inside the action, Genus meets genius, as the Harper Slingshot hammer mechanism works in tandem with the Huma Air regulator to produce and control shot delivery, which is triggered with perfect predictability by a two-stage, finely-adjustable unit connected to its user by a classically curved blade.
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The rear of the rifle's action echoes its tip, with a grooved ball as a bolt handle, and just ahead, on the left-hand side of the action block, an engraved plaque announces Daystate's 40th anniversary, plus the rifle's serial number.
Minelli joins the family
Daystate has enjoyed a productive, long-term working relationship with Italian stock-makers, Minelli, and the woodwork fitted to this rifle shows why the partnership is so successful. From the raised sail of a cheekpiece on its right-hand configured butt, to that contrasting hardwood tip, by way of an elegant, inlayed grip cap, some truly remarkable scalloped chequering and a couple of striking spacers, this stock is a blue-grey-gold blend of traditional and contemporary. Check out the photos; this is a genuinely impressive rifle.
All Daystate limited edition rifles absolutely must shoot to the same standard as their appearance suggests, and the Genus needed to hit the required numbers, and targets. First, the compulsory tedium of the chrono' test, where the .22 Genus entrusted to me was filled to its specified 250 bar and a tin of Daystate Sovereign pellets opened, ready to reveal the degree of efficiency this rifle represents.
Each charge will produce over 180 shots at 12 ft.lbs. in .22, and around 165 in .177. The Genus can also be ordered in .25, and various FAC modes, where a 30 ft.lb. rifle will still produce 30, full-power shots per charge.
Silence is golden
The incorporated 0DB silencer system is no mere ornament, either, and each pellet causes far more nose on impact than during its launch. All Daystate limited edition specials carry a few classified cutting-edge tweaks and, although Daystate refused to confirm their presence, I suspect the Genus has its share of new technical enhancements.
This impression was given a firm foundation by the results from the chronograph. My bleatings about chrono' testing are even more boring than actually carrying out the tests, but this one was almost interesting. The Genus clocked an average muzzle energy readout of 11.5 ft.lbs., with a consistency return of just 11 f.p.s. over the first 50 shots. This impressed me so much that I sacrificed 20 of my prepared JSBs, and managed to shave another 2 f.p.s. off that average. That Huma Air regulator and Harper Slingshot Hammer system form a remarkable double act, that lives and works inside an equally remarkable rifle.
I use a Daystate Huntsman on a regular basis and I know how it should feel in terms of heft, balance and overall handling. I was concerned that the Genus would be clunky and slow down what I've come to expect from the Hunstman, but that notion was dispelled from my first shot. The subtleties of rifle handling are tricky to pin down but a major aspect of what the Genus offers is definitely down to that unusual chequering. The laser-cut scallops are 'sharp' and provide the ideal weld between hand and timber. I'd be happy for any of my rifles to have this chequering, and I think Daystate should think seriously about including it on production rifles. One of the functions of the 'specials' is to trial new features and production techniques, with the possibility of these becoming part of the general system. Having tested the Genus, I now know that such upgrades don't always have to be mechanical.
A final flourish
Each Genus will be presented in a luxury padded hard case, and inside that case the new owner will find a certificate of authenticity, plus a limited edition, hardback book, commemorating Daystate's history. That book is a nice addition to the package and it gives the Genus owner something else to pore over between bouts of admiring their rifle.
Meet the owners
For many years, I've studied, and spoken to, those who buy Daystate's special edition rifles, and whilst I've met a few one-off purchasers, I've found that the majority of them fall into three, clearly-defined categories:
The Daystate fan
These are airgunners who simply must own every Daystate special edition available, mainly because they love Daystate and can't bear to see a gap in their collection. So far, I've yet to meet a Daystate fangirl, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they're out there, and I'm sure they'll let me know if they exist.
Daystate fans take their rifles personally; they're a part of the family, as the owner considers himself to be part of the Daystate family. These owners are usually known to the company and they contribute much-valued feedback about Daystate products. All major airgun companies have these loyal customers and, like Daystate, they value them extremely highly. With such personal commitment comes the ability to offend, and diehard fans will not hesitate to let the company know when they disapprove of something. This, too, is a valuable resource, and one that's rightfully appreciated by every airgun maker I've met.
Most Daystate fans regularly shoot what they collect and are never happier than when explaining the various attributes of their cherished rifles to an interested audience. I've been that audience and the passion the committed Daystate fan exudes is every bit as impressive as its subject.
The practical connoisseur
Some Daystate special-edition owners simply appreciate individual rifles for what they are; mechanically, ergonomically and visually impressive pieces of equipment. As previously stated, all Daystate specials are designed to shoot every bit as good as they look, and if they didn't, they wouldn't appeal anywhere near as much to the practical connoisseur.
Most of us can appreciate the attraction of something that goes about its business in a special way. Cars, watches, knives, and so many everyday items in our lives can be made 'special' by talented producers who know what their customers want and expect. Some of us remain admirers, while others are able to go that stage further and divert the funds required to turn a fleeting admiration into a long-term relationship. They see it, they admire it, they buy it. They use it, too, because the performance amplifies the pleasure of ownership.
Practical connoisseurs may own several specials, or they may stick to a single model, but the process of purchase is the same. Their guns are bought purely on merit and enjoyed through their efficiency of function and design. Yes, I'm sure we can understand that.
The speculator and accumulator
It's a hard fact of commercial life that Daystate special editions can be an extremely lucrative investment. Those with an eye for a money-making opportunity don't usually care if they're buying superbly crafted airguns, or pork bellies; they just want a return on their outlay. It's another fact, that Daystate could sell the entire run of every special edition it produces to one of several such speculators, before the rifle is even designed. On a purely financial basis, this would make perfect sense but Daystate doesn't do that for several reasons, not least because the company really does value the loyalty of its customers. Those customers would surely be 'disappointed' if their opportunity to own a Daystate special edition was diverted to what they would regard as some asset-stripper. That will never happen, although financial reality ensures that investment will always be a prime mover with these rifles. I know of at least three Daystate specials that immediately sold for 50% above their purchase price, without their boxes being opened.
Obviously, these rifles are rarely, if ever, used by their original purchasers, because they're simply assets to be traded for profit. Takes all sorts, I suppose.
A personal view
I don't occupy fully any of the above categories, and I've absolutely nothing in common with the speculator, but the other two I can get right behind, especially the practical connoisseur. I've also been around airguns throughout Daystate's 40-year evolution, so I guess I'm a bit of a fan, too. For me, though, the attraction of the Genus and the other specials, is their ability to influence production rifles and therefore improve the sort of airguns that form the bedrock of our sport. After all, when it comes down to it - we're all part of one family.
Country of origin: UK/Italy
Price: £1849 including hard case, certificate of authenticity and limited-edition book
Type: Pre-charged, fully-regulated, multi-shot or single-shot, sporter
Calibre: .22, .177, .25
Loading: Via removable, rotary 10-shot magazine, or single-shot tray
Trigger: 2-stage, adjustable, with manual, resettable safety
Stock type: Right-hand laminate sporter
Weight: 3.2kg (7.05lbs)
Length: 978mm (38.5 ins)
Barrel: 430mm (17ins)
Fill pressure: Max 250 bar
Shots per charge: 188 in .22, 175 in .177 at sub-12 ft.lbs. configuration. Hi-power versions available.
Average energy: 11.5 ft.lbs.
Contact: Daystate on daystate.com
Tel: 01785 859122