Gun test: PP700S-A Zasdar
- Credit: Archant
A new variant of a popular pistol design gets the editor interested
Although I mostly just shoot rifles these days, I have a big soft spot for pistols. There’s something special about holding a handgun at arm’s length and doing your absolute best to be accurate. It’s so much harder than shooting a rifle, so it results in a greater sense of satisfaction when you score a good hit. The market is loaded with interesting handguns today, but the pre-charged pneumatic Zasdar on test is pretty unusual. There are two other pistols with similar designs on sale, but they’re CO2-powered and that means lower power and temperature-sensitive outputs. Armex, the importer of the Zasdar, assured me that I could expect full UK legal power and I’m here to tell you, they weren’t kidding.
I see single-shot pistols like this as long-range plinkers, or perhaps hunter field target (HFT) guns, so to my way of thinking, accuracy is the key factor. The Zasdar is fitted with open sights, but to push the accuracy limits I wanted a scope of some kind. Ideally, I’d have liked a conventional scope with a simple cross hair (reticle), to give a clear sight picture at varying ranges. Armex included a Walther PS55, an unusual design in that it has zero magnification and projects its reticle onto the sight picture much like a red dot does. Further, it displays a multi-aim-point reticle designed to offer lots of aiming marks for holdover and windage adjustments, and I have to say that I found it a bit busy for my eyes. I would have preferred a simple cross hair.
The pistol is a big, solid handful and it’s all the better for it. It is muzzle heavy, which serves it well by adding stability on aim. Although the grip is long, front to back, it’s quite narrow, width wise. Its surface is fairly smooth despite the panels of stippling moulded in, and the shallow finger grooves on the front. The depth of the grip delivered my index finger nicely onto the trigger blade for best control.
The trigger’s action was very good for a pistol in this class, despite its funky motion. The first stage was clean and light whilst the second stage felt like two stages on its own – a three-stage trigger perhaps? Describing the second stage amounts to a small movement, followed by another stop that was easy to feel. From there it broke cleanly, so it’s a trigger best used in a very deliberate manner.
Even though I’ve shot the other pistols of this kind on the market, I still found the swinging breech block a novelty. It’s most convenient to cock the hammer and then swing the block to the right. This exposes the breech well, allowing a pellet to be dropped into the barrel and thumbed all the way in, before swinging the block into the battery position. After a while, I found I could do this without any conscious effort at all.
I set the pistol on a bench, atop a bag with ‘ears’ that gave huge support and eliminated as much human error as possible. The scope supplied was a ‘high mileage’ unit, but it zeroed quickly and easily at 10 yards.
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The group that printed on the target card pleased me no end. A neat, one-hole group told me that long-range accuracy was going to be a real possibility with this interesting pistol. Slowly, step by step, I walked target cards further and further down my club’s pistol range until I hit the back stop. At 25 yards it was clear to me that the limiting factor was the scope, not the pistol or pellets, something I found frustrating. High-quality pistol scopes are about as common as rocking horse poo, unless you don’t mind spending huge amounts of money, which would be daft on an airgun.
Despite my frustration and a windy day, I was soon getting 1 1/2” groups that I know in my heart the pistol can beat, and handsomely. I really need to get to grips with this pistol and truly understand its capabilities.
A happy marriage
The Zasdar is a PCP and so has a filling port and matching probe in the reservoir that runs parallel beneath the barrel. I was especially pleased to see that a pressure gauge lives out front of that. In my view, all PCPs need a gauge and to get one at this price point is excellent. The barrel is shrouded and has an 11mm, airgun standard dovetail, machined into it that continues into the breech block. The Walther sight has a Weaver standard female mount, so Armex supplied an 11mm Weaver adaptor rail that wedded the pair with ease.
Power was plentiful, as promised, with a steady 5.4ft.lbs of muzzle energy on tap, so I had no trouble flattening every target on the club’s range, even some of the heavier ones normally engaged by our vintage rifle shooters.
I feel that I’ve only scratched the surface of this exciting pistol’s performance, and I’ll be asking Armex for a long-term loan unit to see if I can unlock its full potential in the future.
Tel: 0121 643 4900
Model: PP700S-A Zasdar
Type: Pre-charged pneumatic
Action: Swinging breech, single-shot