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Gun test: Air Arms S510 TC

PUBLISHED: 14:31 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:31 02 August 2018

Firepower indeed!

Firepower indeed!

Archant

In part one of his review Mark Camoccio looks at the unique S510TC

Consider the modern pre-charged pneumatic, and that much-copied, barrel-over-cylinder design crops up time and again. It’s fairly logical and it works well, but it’s fair comment to conclude that a plethora of models available lack original design, and are instead just variations on a well-trodden theme.

Daring to be different and standing out from the crowd, brings risk, but top British brand Air Arms, did just that, when they launched their S510 TC Twin Cylinder special, some eight or nine years ago. OK granted, it is still technically barrel-over-cylinder, but look closer and there’s a lot more to it than that! I became a fan the minute I set eyes on it, so let’s get a closer look at one of the most unusual PCPs currently available, and see just why it remains such a popular alternative in their product line-up.

I like the carbine's compact dimensions for huntingI like the carbine's compact dimensions for hunting

USP

The clue is in the name, of course, and with two full size cylinders sitting side by side, the TC looks an imposing piece of machinery, but there’s method in Air Arms’ eye-boggling design.

Interest in the ‘buddy bottle’ style of airgun has grown exponentially over the last couple of decades, but whilst this configuration guarantees the owner a huge number of shots per fill, the profile can be clumsy, to say the least. Add in the high probability of having to grip a cold metal bottle up front, in place of a proper fore end, and many shooters, including me, are less than enticed.

Air Arms could see the popularity of such guns, but clearly wanted to approach the problem of shot count in a different way. The Twin Cylinder concept was mooted, and after some final tweaking, the S510 TC was born. By joining two conventional air cylinders, and placing them alongside each other, the shooter has the feel and heft of a conventional airgun, yet with a vastly increased shot count. Having said that, after initial mounting of the TC in the shoulder, the twin cylinder configuration, unsurprisingly, has overtones of a double barrelled side-by-side shotgun too, and as such, feels fairly unique.

Not sure about the slightly weird  'in the white' chequeringNot sure about the slightly weird 'in the white' chequering

Specification

It’s a very clever idea, and definitely gives this model a USP, for those who appreciate something a bit different. So just what are we getting for the asking price? A central shrouded Lothar Walther barrel for a start; the multi-shot S510 action, two ten-shot cassette magazines, Air Arms’ ‘T’ bar charging valve, side-lever action, two-stage trigger, threaded muzzle, integral pressure gauge, safety catch, and that Superlite-style beech stock.

The subtle schnabel fore end is quite like a shogun'sThe subtle schnabel fore end is quite like a shogun's

Subtle wood

As with all the standard Air Arms models these days, not to mention a huge slice of the airgun industry, the wooden stocks are made by Minelli in Italy, and the subtle design fitted to the TC, continues the shotgun theme, with that fully tapered fore end and schnabel tip. My test rifle was supplied in Hunter Green Superlite, but standard beech, lacquered to the same standard, is also available. If you haven’t encountered the Air Arms Superlite design, basically it means that the back end has been scalloped out to shed excess wood. A rosewood cap to the pistol grip comes as standard, as does a decent ventilated butt pad, and a prominent cheek piece for perfect eye scope alignment. I’m not so sure about the ‘in the white’ chequering look, but overall finish and that ambidextrous configuration is hard to fault.

This shows the open slot for the magazine within the breech blockThis shows the open slot for the magazine within the breech block

Weights and measures

As mentioned, my test gun came specified as a carbine version of the S510TC, and this tips the scales at 7.2lbs, which is surprisingly modest. Opt for the rifle size, and this increases to 7.7lbs, so reasonable either way. The clever design sees two cylinders joined together, yet internally connected and sharing just one filling valve. In other words, the two cylinders create one large chamber, the barrel sitting within a shroud between the two. A soft ‘O’ ring clamp holds the cylinders and the barrel, and all are given a full matte coating, rather than conventional chemical bluing. The cylinders themselves are specified as being constructed from aerospace-grade aluminium, which sounds reassuring. Air Arms are well known for their serious investment in state-of-the-art CNC machinery, and the quality and precision of machined components, along with the finish overall, is everything we have come to expect from this South Coast manufacturer.

Next month, we’ll put this beauty to the test and see if it shoots as well as its profile suggests.

Specification

Model: S510 TC Carbine

Country of origin: UK

Type: Multi-shot PCP

Calibre: .22 on test, .177

Weight: 7.2lbs

Overall length: 37.25”

Barrel length: 15.5”

Stock: Ambidextrous sporter

Power source: External pump or divers’ bottle

Trigger: 2-stage adjustable

Fill pressure: 190bar

Shot count: 160 claimed

Velocity:

High 558 fps

Low 542

Ave 550

Energy: 10.7 ft.lbs.

Options: Hunter green stock on test, traditional brown beech, full length rifle action available, FAC version available

Contact: Air Arms – 01323 845853

RRP: £1023 including 2 ten-shot rotary magazines

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See more gun tests from Mark Camoccio...

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