Lee Enfield Sentry - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Dave Barham reveals the long-awaited Sentry PCP air rifle from Lee Enfield Guns Ltd in this detailed test & review
This new rifle from Lee Enfield has been a long time coming. The guys at The Shooting Party, who have exclusive distribution rights, have been telling me about it for well over a year and now it’s here! What’s more, it is fully regulated, giving consistent shot count as well as accuracy and all for less than £400!
The first thing you’ll notice about this unique PCP rifle is that it has a combination thumbhole wood/polymer stock. Without the scope attached I think it resembles a pump-action shotgun – well, it would do if it were not for the thumbhole stock – but as soon as you slap some glass on top, it changes the entire aesthetics of the rifle and it becomes a real mean machine!
The wooden part of the stock is made from hand-oiled European beech, and I must say it really does look the part. If I had one little niggle, though, it would be the tiny holes where the cheek riser screws are. If someone has taken the time to hand-oil the stock, surely they could have had a quick swipe inside these holes with a small paintbrush, too? Whilst I’m on the subject of the cheek riser, this is made from rubberised polymer, and has three set levels of height adjustment.
The steel barrel has a polymer silencer on the end, which can be removed and changed via the ¼” UNF thread.
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This rifle has no less than six 22mm Weaver/Picatinny mounting points, with three moulded into the polymer over the top of the barrel, one on each side of the fore grip, which are removable, and another moulded underneath at the end of the fore grip. Obviously, the one underneath is destined for a bipod, such as the rather splendid AirForceOne ADRAS tilt and swivel pod. However, when it comes to the other mounting point then the world is your oyster. You can add a laser sight, a powerful LED lamp … whatever your heart desires.
The trigger on the rifle is a two-stage type, and has been set to give a clean, crisp release. There is no user-adjustment facility, but to be honest, I really didn’t feel the need to change it. There’s about a 5mm pull until you hit the second stage, with a further 5mm creep until the release. It doesn’t take a lot of getting used to.
There is a push slide-style safety button situated immediately above the trigger on the guard, which is made from polymer, whilst the trigger blade itself is metal.
The Sentry comes supplied with two magazines. These are the rotary type with a clear Perspex cover. With the .22 rifle you get eight shots per mag’ and then you get one extra for the .177 version, at nine.
There’s an oval groove cut into the back plate of each mag’, so there is only one way in and one way out when loading it into the rifle.
When it comes to loading the mag’s themselves, this is really quite simple. The front Perspex cover is fixed, so there’s no spinning that round and flipping the mag’ upside down malarkey. No, you simply rotate the inner mag’, which is on a spring, and drop your pellets in as you go – simples! There’s also a single-shot tray included in the box for those who like to use them.
Cocking and loading is an easy affair, too. Simply lift and pull the bolt back to cock, then slide it back, forwards and down to load. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and fluid this action is on the Sentry. I’ve seen a lot of low-priced PCPs in recent years where the cocking and loading action is rather clunky and cumbersome – not so with the Sentry.
As you would expect, this rifle comes with its own filling probe. It’s a push-in type and is easily located into the fill hole once you have rotated the rubberised screw band immediately behind the pressure gauge. This cylinder is rated for 3000 psi, which equates to 307Bar, and once filled, the regulator gives you around 100 shots in .177 and 120-plus in .22.
I spent a couple of hours a day over the course of two weeks shooting the Sentry in my garden range, before taking it out into the field in search of a few rabbits. Although to date my hunting exploits have been an abject failure, I’m in no doubt that this rifle will be a very effective hunting tool.
The addition of the regulator really aids accuracy, and the Sentry is every bit as accurate as more expensive rifles I have used. I was hitting consistent 10mm groups at 35 yards, no problem, with my favourite QYS Streamlined Heavy pellets.
I’ve already mentioned the ease of cocking, and smoothness of the action, so I won’t dwell on that. Let’s just say, I think it far exceeds the price tag.
Although this rifle does look a little on the ‘chunky’ side, it’s extremely well balanced, and is a joy to shoot freehand whilst standing. I found my thumb and fingers naturally finding their way into the hollow grooves in the polymer fore end of the stock, and it all felt extremely comfortable. Even with a flat palm approach, the extra width of the fore end feels naturally comfortable too.
This is a great rifle, both for collectors and those seeking to enter the wonderful world of PCP rifles on a budget. Sure, there are a couple of small niggles, but they really don’t detract from what you’re getting for the money.
Whilst it won’t appeal to all tastes, especially the ‘traditionalists’, this new rifle will gain a ‘cult following’ for certain. The chunky design does not impact too much on weight, but it does allow for some rather interesting features on the main rifle body.
For less than £400, I can see sales going through the roof.
Manufacturer: Lee Enfield Guns Ltd
UK Distributor: TSP (The Shooting Party): 01543 480361
Type: PCP, multi-shot rotary mag’
Stock Material: Ambidextrous, wood/polymer
Safety: Manual, push slide
Calibres: .177 and .22
Overall Length: 1028mm
Barrel Length: 486mm
Weight: 3.5kg (8.4lbs) without scope
Fill Pressure: 207Bar
Shots Per Fill: 100 (.177), 120 (.22)
Energy of Test Rifle: Avg 11.5 ft.lbs. over 20 shots
Variation (20 shots): 7fps