Gun test: BSA R-10 Super Carbine

Dave has fallen in love with his new BSA R-10 SE Super Carbine rifle and if youve ever shot one you

Dave has fallen in love with his new BSA R-10 SE Super Carbine rifle and if youve ever shot one youll understand why. - Credit: Archant

Dave Barham has been saving hard for his dream rifle, and now that dream has come true

Off huntin' conkers

Off huntin' conkers - Credit: Archant

Ever since I got back into my shooting and hunting a couple of years ago, I’ve aspired to own a multi-shot PCP carbine sporter. In fact, I’ve had my sights set on a BSA R10 for well over a year, so I began to squirrel away £50 here, and £30 there into an old coffee jar as often as I could get away with it. I checked said pot last week, and to my amazement I’d managed to gather together exactly a grand in 12 months!

A trip to my local gun dealer was most definitely in order, and as luck would have it he had a shiny new BSA R10SE Super Carbine in stock with a beautiful walnut stock – my dream was about to come true.

Love At First Sight

Do you believe in love at first sight? I do now! As soon as I picked up the rifle I knew she would be mine. Everything just felt ‘right’, the balance, the feel of the stock, the weight, everything.

The rifle was fitted with a BSA 3-9 x 50 scope already for display purposes, and with a touch of Barham bartering, I managed to pick the complete outfit up for a little over £800, including a good quality BSA gun slip thrown in for good measure. My friend at the shop also filled her up for me, to just under the recommended 232 bar.

I took her home in record time, eager to zero the scope and play with my new toy. I was so excited! I’d been waiting a whole 12 months for this moment, and it had finally come to fruition.

There were no rabbits in the field, but an old water butt took a few shots.

There were no rabbits in the field, but an old water butt took a few shots. - Credit: Archant

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Totally Blown Away

I was rushing around my house like a man possessed. I couldn’t for the life of me find my targets, so I improvised with some white cardboard and a black marker pen. I just had to get this baby zeroed and then out into the field.

For the purpose of this first zeroing session, I set my pellet-catching target at 25-yards, which is pretty much the length of my garden. I also opted to shoot this first session from my bench, with a large cushion as a rest, like I always do when zeroing a rifle.

The way I see it, if I can get my rifle and scope performing in this situation, then anything that goes amiss in the field is down to user error – it’s best to have a good starting point, a ‘bench mark’ so to speak. What happened next blew me away, and it’s a moment that I shall never forget.

Bang On Money

The guys at the shop had told me that they had ‘near zeroed’ the scope when they had put it all together, so I shouldn’t have too much to do when I got her home – and they weren’t wrong.

As I settled down for my first shot, I hadn’t even removed the caps from the turrets on the scope, I just wanted to feel that trigger release and send my first pellet down the barrel.

The BSA let out a little ‘pffft’ and to my surprise the pellet hit my makeshift target just a few millimetres below left of the cross that I had drawn on the card.

“Well that was pretty good,” I said to myself.

With that first glorious shot out of my system, I got down to business and removed the caps from the scope and guesstimated a few clicks right and a couple more up.

My next shot was almost perfect on the horizontal plane, but just a few millimetres high, so another couple of clicks were made and I was feeling pretty confident that I was almost there.

Well, the next four shots ended with me putting the rifle down on the bench and me jumping around the garden like a little kid!

You see, I like to shoot a ‘Heath Robinson’ cross target set-up when I don’t have ‘proper’ targets (or I lose them), because it allows me to aim for the four imaginary boxes that the cross produces. I like to try to shoot as close as I can in each quarter, then move on to the next one.

The Fabled One-holer!

As I sent the first pellet into the top right ‘box’ it hit exactly where I wanted it to. Rather than go for box two, to the left of it, I decided to put another shot into the same place, and then another and another. I placed three shots on top of each other, and as the fourth one hit the target I couldn’t actually see where it had entered – it had gone into the empty space cut out by the previous three shots!

That’s when I felt an immense surge of adrenalin coursing through my veins. My heart felt like it was going to thump out of my chest and I was sitting there with biggest grin you’ve ever seen stretching across my face.

I had to put the rifle down again and just sit there to take it all in. This rifle is by far the most accurate that I have ever shot, and she is mine! Never have I felt so at one with an airgun, not in this way - it really felt like it was meant to be.

Conkers Bonkers

Once I had calmed down and stopped shaking, I decided to take my newly-beloved BSA over to a friend’s field to see if there were any rabbits about. Of course there weren’t, it was 2pm on a warm summer’s day. That didn’t matter though, I was out in the field with my new girl, and just being there and going through the motions was enough, for now.

Obviously, I had to make a few shots, just for fun, and those few turned into 50 or more. I spotted a huge tree full of conkers at the bottom end of the field, and oh what fun I had blatting them out of the sky.

In my mind, each and every one of them was a pigeon, and time after time I made headshot after headshot. It was one of the most fun ‘plinking’ sessions I think I’ve ever had. It didn’t matter that there were no rabbits, because I was nailing those conkers like there was no tomorrow.

Confidence Is King

Being confident in your abilities and ‘tools’ is 90 per cent of what makes you a good shooter in my opinion. It’s the same with fishing.

It’s hard to explain, but I feel so confident when shooting the R10 already; I know that the rifle is the best I have ever owned, and now it’s just down to my stalking and waiting abilities to begin filling my freezer with free-range food again.

Two Times Lucky!

As luck would have it, I received a phone call from my ex-landlord. Martin, whilst I was sitting in the field. He’d shot a deer a couple of nights previous and he had called to see if I wanted some.

We’ve stayed in touch since I moved out of his old house, and every now and then we meet up and exchange venison for turbot I’d caught over a pint or two.

I rushed home and secured my new rifle away. The thought of a fresh venison loin sizzling in butter that evening overtook my conker-blatting hysteria, but only just.

I met Martin for our usual exchange of goods and a couple of pints, and during the conversation he told me about a new permission he had acquired via his girlfriend’s sister. He had been asked to deal with a muntjac deer problem in their ‘garden’, which turned out to be quite a few acres.

All Coming Together

As we began chatting, I told him about my new rifle and how impressed I am with it. He then told me that there was a serious rabbit problem at this permission, too, and that he really didn’t have time to deal with it.

“Are you free tomorrow night, Dave? I’ll take you over there and introduce you,” he said, before taking another sip of beer.

That was music to my ears, and I’m sitting here writing this piece with just a few hours to go until Martin picks me up and takes me rabbiting. I can’t wait, and if I play my cards right I may well have just stumbled on to a permission that I have so longed for since I moved here. At last, it all seems like it’s coming together for me, and now I can start bringing you some proper hunting features, with promises of even more permissions on the cards. Wish me luck!


Model: R-10 SE Super Carbine

Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot, sporter

Calibres: .22, .177, .25

Cocking/loading: Bolt-action, via 10-shot, removable, rotary, 10-shot magazine

Trigger: 2-stage, multi-adjustable

Weight: 3.4kg (7.5lb)

Length: 968mm (38in)

Barrel: 300mm (12in)

Fill pressure: Max 232 bar

RRP: £779 (without scope)

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