Gun test: Air Arms S510 R – Ultimate Sporter Regulated
Air Arms have fitted regulators to several of their models of late, so Mark Camoccio gets his hands on the S510R Ultimate Sporter
With my background firmly based in field target shooting, I'm only too aware of the intricacies and advantages of a regulated airgun. If the remit is to push for every ounce of performance and down-range accuracy, then a super-consistent power plant is a prerequisite. It's simple logic really; if every pellet is leaving the muzzle at around the same velocity, then accuracy should be enhanced.
Of course, pellets need to be of the highest quality and consistency themselves, to make the most of this scenario, or its a pointless exercise, but a gun ticking over at its peak is indeed the holy grail for many enthusiasts. Single-figure variation over a charge cycle happens occasionally, and if you are prepared to select, weigh, and prepare your pellets, that might be on the cards. I have to say, though, that a total velocity spread of 15fps- 20fps will be hard to detect in terms of a change in impact point downrange, but far be it from me to detract from the laudable quest for near perfection.
R for regulated
It's also worth noting that some standard PCPs can be consistent, if carefully charged to a specific pressure, but undoubtedly, the inclusion of a regulator does away with the worry of over-charging, and for many, that's reason enough to dabble in the black arts. Regulated actions are definitely in vogue at the moment, so it should come as no surprise when top brand names such as Air Arms start to fit these specialist devices at the factory. The idea is that a small regulating device finely meters the air for each shot, as opposed to just drawing air off the main open cylinder.
Air Arms have built up a well-deserved reputation for quality, and refined designs, and their Ultimate Sporter model, based around the acclaimed S510 action, has been a big success from its inception. Much of their Sussex-based output ends up winging its way to the States, and it was apparently a clamouring for a regulated version, from across the pond, that spurred Air Arms on, to turn the relevant blueprints into reality. This latest S510R version, sees a factory regulator (denoted by the 'R' in the name and neatly laser-etched on the breech block) fitted as standard, so efficiency should, in theory, be at a premium. So we'll first take a look around this striking model's features, and then see how it compares to the standard version.
Air Arms designed the Ultimate Sporter as an up-market sporting rifle, designed to offer the serious hunter all the features required to smooth their path to success in the field, and this new regulated version adds further choice to the discerning shooter. The S510R Ultimate Sporter comes supplied here in 12 ft.lbs. spec, in .22 calibre, and with the fully adjustable walnut stock option that includes a rather stylish, black, soft-touch cheekpiece. In addition, it comes fitted as standard with the company's renowned Q-Tec silencer, fully shrouded, Lothar Walther barrel, two-stage trigger, sling swivel studs, accessory rail, sidelever action, T bar charging valve and the Air Arms' multi-shot magazine system, including two 10-shot magazines. That's an impressive spec' sheet in anyone's book.
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Laminate stocks are extremely popular in the shooting world across the board, and the original Ultimate Sporter was dressed in this super-stable, eye-catching timber, but Air Arms rarely rest on their laurels, and offering choice to today's increasingly demanding shooter means there are now three different stock options from which to choose: Walnut, Laminate, or Black Soft Touch. My test model as mentioned is the Walnut option with Soft Touch cheek, and I reckon it looks and feels superb. Incidentally, that cheekpiece is actually a thin layer of rubber-type compound over wood. As for the quality of the grain pattern, I've always appreciated walnut, and this oil-finished Minelli machined stock doesn't disappoint.
The Ultimate Sporter models aren't cheap, and part of the premium goes into those adjustable stock elements, which are all intended to allow the shooter to fine-tweak head position, where the rifle sits in the shoulder, and even cast. The art is not to be in a rush, and just spend a session gently making adjustments, until a totally natural shooting position is easily assumed, free from stress and muscle strain. The significant bolt on the reverse side of the stock needs to be slackened off with an Allen key, then it should be possible to raise or lower the cheek to suit. Remove the cheek entirely to gain access to the cast-off screws beneath, which allow the panel to be moved laterally, and you have a whole world of subtle adjustment, all intended to achieve correct eye/scope alignment. Turning to the butt pad, a screwdriver slots in at the rear, and the pad then moves on its axis.
Now we have that mouthwatering stock perfectly set, so next time out, we'll see how this regulated beauty really shapes up.
Model: S510R - Ultimate Sporter Regulated
Manufacturer: Air Arms, UK
Type: Regulated multi-shot PCP
Calibre: .22 on test, .177 available
Length: 40.3 inches
Barrel: Lothar Walther 15.5 inches
Stock: Adjustable sporter, available in Walnut, Black Soft Touch or Laminate
Power source: External pump or diver's bottle
Trigger: 2-stage adjustable
Fill pressure: 250bar
Shot count: 90-120 claimed by manufacturer (115 consistent shots on test)
Velocity: High 550 fps (using AA Diablo Field)
Spread 13fps over 115 shots
Energy: 10.6 ft.lbs.
Contact: Air Arms 01323 845853 / air-arms.co.uk
RRP: £1149 as shown including silencer, two 10-shot rotary magazines, and filling adaptor. Laminate, the same, £1149, Black Soft Touch £1049
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