Gun test: The first ever-regulated version of the Air Arms S510R TDR
PUBLISHED: 13:44 27 March 2019
Dave Barham has laid his hands on the first-ever regulated version of the popular S510 TDR - and he loves it!
WATCH: Dave Barham’s review on video here.
The original Air Arms S510 TDR is an S510 that can be broken down into three sections (stock, moderator and cylinder/action), although for the most part people leave the moderator on so it stays as two parts.
Indeed, that is how the gun comes packaged in its very sturdy, over-protective, foam-lined flight case, which has enough room inside to keep your scope and moderator permanently fitted, and there’s still space for two magazines, which come supplied as standard, a tin of pellets, filling connector and Allen keys.
There’s also plenty of room within the case to make your own cut-outs in the foam, so you can add your accessories such as a lamp, bipod and tools. The case can be locked and secured by means of a securi-cord-type fixture, which is very handy.
The hard plastic case measures 36 inches long, 15 inches wide and just under 5 inches deep, so it will easily fit into most car boots.
Krypton factor – No!
When I opened the case I was amazed at what I saw – a rubberised black stock and foregrip with a very shiny (oil-covered) reservoir glistening under the office lights. This gun was especially built for us as a result of Terry Doe’s interaction with Air Arms at the recent SHOT show in Vegas. They literally returned home and had this rifle built, just for little ol’ me!
First job was to wipe away the excess protective oil with a soft cloth, and then once I’d cleaned the parts down, it was time to put the gun together to see what it felt like. Putting the TDR together, from an open box, took me exactly 11 seconds – pretty nifty, eh? The process involves locating three pins on the front of the butt section with their corresponding ports to the rear of the action, pushing the two sections together, then rotating the knurled wheel in front of the butt pad until all is locked down tight.
It’s worth noting that until the stock has been fully fitted, the action is rendered useless – so you can’t run around pretending you own a 12 ft.lbs. ‘Punisher-style’ pistol-grip rifle.
Satisfied that I knew what I was dealing with, I left the office and immediately headed to a friend’s farm to see how this baby performs.
Filling and loading
Filling the reservoir is a doddle, thanks to Air Arms’ unique filtered air-intake fill valve system. You simply connect the male and female ends, twist the female end to hold it securely in place, and off you go. For the first fill I was out in a field sitting in the boot of my Outlander, so I decided to pump her right up to the max, nudging a little over 240 bar.
Next job was to load the familiar Air Arms magazines, of which there are two supplied as standard. I love the way the Air Arms mag’s work, there’s a positive click each time you spin the inner disc around to drop another pellet in. Being non-spring-loaded makes the job of loading quite therapeutic, with a ‘click, drop, click’ action. Talking of mag’s, there are two slots hidden underneath the cheekpiece on the stock to hold two magazines securely – a really nice touch for those who like to go walkabout on their permissions.
With the mag’ loaded, it’s simply a case of slotting it home once the sidelever has been drawn back fully, then closing the lever and you’re good to go. Don’t try to load the magazine after simply cocking the lever back and releasing, it needs to be held as far back as it will go in order to accept the mag’.
There is a manual safety button on the side of the trigger, which you must press left to go ‘live’ and then press back to the right in order to be safe. It’s a really clever position to have placed it.
The original rifle could be filled to 190 bar, whereas this new model can go to 250 bar. The unregulated TDR gave around 40/50 shots in .22, but this one gives in excess of 100!
During my initial testing, I put exactly 80 shots through it, from filling to just over 240 bar, and after those 80 shots it was still reading a little over 100 bar.
I knocked up a makeshift range next to some rather large tree stumps that had just been cut (fate?). Using a laser rangefinder I manoeuvred my car so I was exactly 30 metres away from the main stump, with others behind it at around 35 metres.
After bolting on a Hawke Vantage SF scope (review in May 2019’s issue) I set about zeroing, which took just ten shots! It was a tad breezy on the ‘range’, very open from both sides, but I’d positioned myself so the breeze was coming left to right over my right shoulder. It didn’t seem to make any difference at all to the accuracy of this rifle, as shot after shot hit its mark.
The first squeeze of the trigger told me that it needed adjusting. The initial pull of the two-stages was way too far, it felt like it was going to keep going forever. However, once I did finally hit the second stage it released beautifully.
Once I adjusted the trigger, and after throwing 30 or so shots through the barrel, I decided to put up two targets and try five shots with the rifle propped up on my jacket on the roof of the Outlander, then five with me splayed across the bonnet with a neatly folded jacket as a rest. You can see the difference in the picture here – from the more comfortable rest position I put five shots in a 12mm group!
After rattling through another couple of mag’s, I went for a walk around the farm to see if I could spot any pigeons or squirrels to take a shot at, but unfortunately I didn’t find anything, so I headed back home to reflect.
The next morning I was up and itching to get back out with the rifle. I topped the air back up to 240 bar, put ten shots through and then I wanted to see how it performed on the chronograph, so I rigged up my ‘Gun Vise’, used the hard case as a rest for the chronograph and an old, soggy tree stump to soak up the pellets as I shot them.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as shot after shot registered just a 4fps variance – which I suspect is purely down to the pellets. After putting two full mag’s through the chrono’, I took the average to be 573 fps, which works out at 11.67 ft.lbs. based on the 16 grain Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets I was using.
I absolutely adore this rifle. It’s insanely accurate, lightweight and a real joy to shoot. Not only is it the perfect hunting tool, ideally suited to wandering about or stalking, but it’s also great for static hunting situations from a hide, or lying down in a field – a bipod would be an advantage for that.
If I had to make any negative comments, there are only two that I can muster. Firstly, I’d try to find a way of dampening the ‘click’ as the sidelever cocking arm is pushed back into position. It’s only minor, but I found it to be louder than I expected, and when I’m lying in a field full of rabbits I want to reload as quietly as possible immediately after taking a shot, with the hope of getting two for the price of one.
Secondly, and this observation was reiterated by my good friend and retired marksman, Jim Midgley, the cheekpiece could easily be made adjustable. It only needs to have an inch-and-a-half of rise, but that would make all the difference for ‘big headed’ chaps like ourselves.
Other than these two very minor, nay personal niggles, the Air Arms S510R TDR is about as perfect as a sporting air rifle gets – absolute magic!
Model: S510R TDR
Manufacturer: Air Arms
Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot takedown sporter
Price: Circa £1100 (TBA) including case, two magazines and silencer
Max fill pressure: 250 bar
Stock material: Walnut/black rubberised
Stock type: Ambidextrous, skeleton-type, two-piece, walnut, with adjustable butt pad
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
Calibres: .177 and .22
Safety: Manual, in-trigger
Overall length: 1030mm (including silencer)
Barrel length: 395mm
Magazine capacity: Ten shots (two supplied)
Weight: 2.6kg/6.15lbs (unscoped)
Shot capacity: .22 100+, .177 80+
Variation (10 shots): 4 fps