Gun test: BSA Guns Ultra SE Cayenne
- Credit: Archant
Phill Price looks at a limited edition of an old favourite
The Ultra SE has been a regular item in BSA’s catalogue for a long time and is a well-proven performer in the field. Its tiny dimensions belie full-power performance, backed up by top-class accuracy to make for a handy package that any hunter could want. However, it’s not a flashy rifle, more a solid workhorse built to do a job where it counts. I’ve always enjoyed the compact dimensions around the farm, seeing this as a rat gun par-excellence, and equally at home in the cramped confines of a pigeon hide.
So imagine my surprise to see that BSA had decided to make a limited edition version with this stunning Cayenne laminate stock. It was the bold red layer that brought the thought of this hot pepper to mind and kick-started the whole package idea. Limited editions feel just that bit more special than the standard item and often offer better value for money than if you’d bought all the component parts separately.
What’s in the box?
Alongside the rifle, you get a 3-9 x 50 BSA Optics scope, a one-piece mount and a smart, padded gun bag that fits the small rifle perfectly. I also noted that BSA has adapted the CCS (Customer Configurable Shroud) from the R10 SE to work on the smaller gun. This system allows you to run with a bare barrel that has the silencer screwed on the end, or to fit a full-length shroud that blends nicely with the silencer. I’m pretty sure that most will fit the shroud and leave it that way, simply because it looks better. The VC silencer has also been adapted; it’s been shortened so that it looks correctly proportioned for the Ultra. To my ear, it’s a touch louder than the full-length version, but not too loud by any means. Both the shroud and the silencer are finished in a textured anodised finish to eliminate unwanted reflections and to prevent corrosion.
The shroud adds a more substantial look and appeal to the rifle, which allied to the fancy stock, transforms what was quite a plain rifle into something rather special and truly eye-catching. At just over 8lbs, the Cayenne feels weightier than the standard gun. This is partly because laminate weighs more than walnut, partly because of the barrel shroud – and also the scope which has a good heft of its own.
Everything that made the Ultra SE so popular is still there, including the ‘Fast Strike’ hammer system that reduces action time and increases efficiency. I find it remarkable that such a small rifle can produce so many shots per fill. I know the unusual 232bar fill pressure helps, but it’s impressive all the same. In the belly of the stock there’s a pressure gauge that allows us to see quickly just how much air is left in the reservoir, which is a very important piece of information for any PCP shooter. Allowing the pressure to run too low can cause all sorts of problems, so being able to keep an eye on it easily is vital.
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The action is slim and neat, with no unsightly lumps or bumps to spoil the lines. It carries its magazine low, meaning that there’s no cut-out in the scope rail. This makes mounting the optic of your choice simple and even allows the use of one-piece mounts, as seen here, for maximum strength and support. This uninterrupted rail is a big deal in my book and BSA deserves plenty of credit for designing the rifle this way.
Quick and slick
Inside the action, the ‘Bolas’ bolt is attached to a thick steel shaft that appears chrome-plated for smoothness and wear resistance. This makes the action quick and slick, even when the rifle has launched a lot of pellets. It indexes BSA’s latest 10-shot magazine that uses a self-lubricating synthetic material in its rotating cylinder, adding to the smoothness of the action.
The whole lovely package comes inside a purpose-made case that is the perfect size, adding to the custom feel. It has a selection of outer pockets to help you carry along pellets, your cleaning cloth and all those other bits and bobs we all need. There are traditional carrying handles, plus shoulder straps that let you carry it like a rucksack.
BSA made just 200 of these sweet rifle sets and they’re out in the shops as I write, so if you fancy one you’d better get your skates on. As beautiful as they are, they’re also proper hunting guns and are tough enough to be out in the field rather than being locked into a display case, doubling their value in my book. Get ‘em while they’re hot; they’re lovely!
Manufacturer: BSA Guns
Model: Ultra SE Cayenne
Type: Pre-charged pneumatic
Action: 10-shot, bolt-action
Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
Length: 34 ½ (87.6cm)
Weight: 8.1lbs (3.6kg)
Fill pressure: 232bar
Shots per fill: 177 – 40 22 – 50
RRP: £749.00 (includes scope, mounts and gun bag)