Gun test: Air Arms Galahad follow-up review

The Air Arms Galahad - a knight in shining armour

The Air Arms Galahad - a knight in shining armour - Credit: Archant

Terry Doe was initially impressed by this knight from Air Arms, but how has his view changed, if at all?

I changed my mind, preferring the walnut stock to the black option

I changed my mind, preferring the walnut stock to the black option - Credit: Archant

To do something different from my original test of the Air Arms Galahad, I not only added the optional silencer but I swapped the soft touch rubberised stock for a walnut one. How extremely radical, you’ll agree. As it turned out, it was a worthwhile exercise and I think I’ll be doing the same sort of thing to explore other rifles.

Stock change

After some fairly basic test sessions at the factory, I’d convinced myself the black stock was the version for me. I was wrong. I now prefer the walnut, although I’m not entirely sure why. I know I prefer the look of walnut, while the rubberised woodwork will definitely shrug off the demands of full-on field use. And after squiring the Galahad about for a month or two, I think it deserves the luxury of a walnut stock, rather than the pure practicality of the black one.

Plenty of grip, here, plus a dinky little accessory rail

Plenty of grip, here, plus a dinky little accessory rail - Credit: Archant

The balance of the rifle is exactly the same, and there’s virtually no difference in all-up weight, but I oiled the walnut a couple of times and I enjoyed doing that. Regular applications of oil will impart a deeper, more intense finish to the grain. The main lesson, as ever, is to allow plenty of time and as much hands-on experience as possible before making any major choice.

An absolutely essential feature. Fiddle with it until it's doing everything it can for you

An absolutely essential feature. Fiddle with it until it's doing everything it can for you - Credit: Archant

Silencer effect

Basically, if you’re getting a Galahad, get the Mini Q-Tec silencer with it. This chunky little moderator does a fine job of stifling whatever muzzle noise gets past the barrel shroud (and that’s not much) but the visual balance the Mini Q-Tec provides entirely justifies its inclusion.

Just take up the Q-Tec option

Just take up the Q-Tec option - Credit: Archant

There have been some strident views expressed about the look of the Galahad – most mentioning the ‘too large’ gap between the rifle’s barrel and its cylinder. Fitting a Mini Q-Tec won’t close that gap, but it will alter the perception of it. In short, the Q-Tec works well and makes the Galahad prettier.

Probe charging is quick, slick and impossible to get wrong

Probe charging is quick, slick and impossible to get wrong - Credit: Archant

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Regulator efficiency

I previously reported a 9 f.p.s. average consistency readout over 108 shots from this .177 test rifle. I can report no change at all in the Galahad’s performance, despite a traditional soaking when testing some night hunting gear. Fitting the silencer had exactly no effect, either – it’s business as usual.

I’d still rather do without the extra complication of a regulator, in principle, but as long as this one maintains its role as the gift that keeps on giving, I’m prepared to change my mind. For the record, it’s almost impossible to see the result of even a 15 f.p.s. shot-to-shot variation at legal limit hunting ranges. I’m impressed with what Air Arms has developed.

You'll develop your own way of using that lever - and you'll be fine with it

You'll develop your own way of using that lever - and you'll be fine with it - Credit: Archant

Accuracy

Short answer, again – this rifle will do everything an airgun of this price should do, plus a little bit more in terms of user-friendship, thanks to its balance, pointability and stability on aim. For the stats enthusiasts, I reproduced the fingertip-sized groups I bragged about in my first test. It shoots straight, and easily maximises its shooter’s talent. That’s about all anyone can ask, really.

So easy to switch that lever for southpaw use

So easy to switch that lever for southpaw use - Credit: Archant

Verdict

Some shooters don’t like bullpups – or ‘sportpups’, as Air Arms insist on calling the Galahad. They baulk at the compact design and unusual configuration of these guns, but even these people can change their tune when they get one in their shoulder. I’ve seen it happen with the Daystate Pulsar and Renegade, and the Galahad will have the same impact.

I’d recommend this rifle to anyone looking for a superior sporter that does things its own way. I became used to the ‘push-pull’ cocking and loading lever within minutes and our working relationship became smoother with every encounter. Similarly, changing the lever to suit a southpaw required just a hex wrench and a few minutes – I even swapped it over in the field. This system is the perfect complement to the Galahad’s ambidextrous stock, and whilst the magazine insertion point can’t be fixed, this is a genuine left-hand option.

The trigger works perfectly. Just set it, forget it, and let it help you shine

The trigger works perfectly. Just set it, forget it, and let it help you shine - Credit: Archant

The trigger worked impeccably throughout my test and there was no ‘compromise’ on performance due to the need for an extended, articulated actuating arm between the trigger blade and its mechanism. This used to be a concern when bullpups first appeared, but the ones I’ve used lately have efficiency and precision engineered in as standard.

Endearing build-quality, ergonomics, performance, and yes, looks

Endearing build-quality, ergonomics, performance, and yes, looks - Credit: Archant

The Galahad’s build-quality, ergonomics, performance, and yes, its looks, have endeared the rifle to me. I’d very much like to add one to my collection. It represents a fairly radical departure from what Air Arms are famous for and I applaud the company for taking such a bold step.

The knight is young – but I predict a great future for it.

Price: £1241.50 as tested, with regulator. Non-regulated model – £1180.

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Air Arms

Model: Galahad

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 walnut, with adjustable butt pad

Weight: 3.6kg (8lbs) Unscoped.

Length: 698mm (27.5 ins)

Barrel: 395mm (15.55ins)

Fill pressure: 210 bar (non-regulated version 190 bar)

Shots per charge: 120 in .22 (regulated), 110 in .177 (regulated)

Variation over 60 shots: 9 fps for .177 on test

Average energy: 11.6 ft.lbs.

Options: Various models, plus choice of Picatinny or dovetail rails, FAC, high-power model, Q-Tec silencer and stock spacers

Prices: The basic model - ie carbine and rifle length.

beech/non-reg/12ft. lbs./.177 and .22 with Picatinny or standard dovetail - £1059.00. With reg - £1120.50.

Black soft touch /non-reg /12 ft.lbs. /.177 and .22 - £1079.00. With reg - £1140.50.

Walnut/non-reg/12ft.lbs./.177 and .22 - £1180.00. With reg - £1241.50

All include: Two 10-shot pellet magazines plus probe charging adaptor

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