Not sure if this is more worthy of a review piece than a hunting story but, last week, my journey of converting the devoutly right-handed Air Arms Pro Sport .22 rifle I have, to totally left hand shooter-friendly has come to a beautiful ending with my rifle now fully honed, polished, fettled and tuned with a Tinbum drop in kit. And I apologise for perhaps, over-using the word 'Precision' but absolute precision shooting with a spring air rifle is everything I'm about with my shooting. I never settle for just 'okay or 'averagely good'. Precision accuracy in everything I do is a sort of OCD thing with me. The very best or bollocks to it.
Tim here, AKA Charlie Caller has carried out the work to the standards of a masterpiece of tuning. And this rifle is really just all of that. A masterpiece.
This was only the basic kit too. Consisting of a delrin piston guide and top hat to replace the standard all-steel units, a slip washer and a couple of power washers and various lubes, grease and abrasive cloth.
Due to the design of the Pro Sport's underlever, we decided it best to keep to a basic drop in kit and fore-go the short-stroke kit. I've heard this is not advisable to fit into a Pro Sport, for reasons best explained by the more technically adept here. But anyway, following a most enjoyable day at Tim's house I returned home with an all-round smoother cocking and shooting rifle than I started the day with.
This Pro Sport really hammers out JSB Diablo Heavy 18.83 grain pellets with surprisingly precise accuracy from a springer. And at 11.4 Ft/lbs off Tim's chrono, the power was right on the money. We re-adjusted the trigger to a precise point of let-off and the rifle felt immediately like it was coming alive.
I have photos on my phone of the work in progress if anyone can advise me how to post them up here. But basically, Tim degreased the internals completely, polished the spring ends and piston head to a mirror chrome shine and lubed and greased where it was needed, nowhere it wasn't and Nice to see Air Arms have built this rifle really, REALLY well; and the piston has been buttoned and set up on bearings and the unit fits together like precision engineered parts ought to.
Only one niggle was a single piece of swarf embedded in the piston seal but, not so deep or into edges where it would damage the thing fit for scrap thank God!
So, after a week spent putting a full tin of JSB Heavies through the barrel and running-in the new innards, the rifle is now smoother yet and sweetly shooting. No trigger creep or adverse side-effects, it is a truly beautiful device the CD trigger on these things. Every shot on the trigger-blade feels just nice and crisp under my finger. Exactly how a top quality trigger should behave.
I have a lovely Hawke Sidewinder 30mm tube, 3-12x50 scope with a half-mil dot reticle and last night was the first time out on my perm since getting her home from Tim's place.
Normally I zero my .22 rifles at 30 metres but I wanted to be ready for closer range rabbits as much as longer distance ones on this shoot. 25 metre zero put the pellets right through the same single hole into a raggy group of less than a 5p piece would cover. Set on 8-x-mag the 25 metre zero falls bang on the cross hair centre, this puts 30 metres bang on the first black dot below zero centre and 35 metres bang on the second dot below that. With everything all zeroed and singing all the way to the target, it was away to my fields for an evening's rabbit shooting. The fields of grass behind chicken sheds. It bloody stinks but the rabbits are plentyful here.
After about 30 minutes, just about 6:30 pm, the first rabbit popped out at about 35 metres off and the scope was right on the money. No flips or back somersaults, the Pro Sport just released the shot with a nice bit of felt recoil at my shoulder a hefty thwack from the head and the rabbit just froze on the spot and slowly shuddered over to one side. Out like a light. That brought another one a bit spooked, out to see what the danger was at about the same distance. THWACK! A heavier impact this time it seemed and sent it kicking and wretching over a few seconds then, finished.
A Magpie appeared and settled down on the first rabbit carcase 10 minutes later and it's head went with a mighty crack on the pellet's impact. It flung its wings up and dropped forward. The shot took it clean through both eyes. Out like a light. This was followed by a neat woodpigeon off the chicken shed roof at twenty yards or so.
Two rabbits appeared at about a shade under 30 metres on a grassy mound on this field and I knocked the nearest one over nice and clean. A fast reload and I bagged the other before it had time to think of the danger it was in and bolt for cover.
Have you ever had a night out with a newly sorted gun and you wanted to dance about the field with a bloody great grin on your face?
This has got to be one of the very finest Air Arms Pro Sport .22 rifles out there. There has not been a single issue with it since I took it out of the box in the spring time.
It now shoots with PCP precision with a kick you can feel and control in the hold.
A while passed by and it's now starting to get dark but next came the cherry on the cake as far as this night's shoot was going. A large male buck pos out of a point along the hedgerows at over 55 metres away. I know these distances on my shoot because I've measured the entry and exit points the rabbits use the most.
That's the benefit of time spent without your gun, on a proper racce, observing and watching their comings and goings through their preferred entry and exit points on your permission.
It took a fair bit of hold-over to meet the two half-dots on its head, almost down to the bottom square of the reticle, breathing slowed down to the pause, pulse nice and steady...slip the trigger....crack!
It leapt forward and rolled over kicking but the job was over.
And so was my night's shooting. Nothing appeared after that last beauty.
5 rabbits, one magpie, one woodpigeon. Seven kills, seven shots, no misses. That's a nice one! The damage these JSB's do is pretty nasty. Stright throught he heads of two rabbits and both birds. But nothing suffers and that's how I like it. Fast, fatally quick and no suffering as far as possible. I'm a sportsman, not a fecking savage!
As I made my way home I had one saddening thought cross my mind.
When the hell will I take out my other, beloved Weihrauch rifles and Daystate Regal PCP again after this result? My guns are precious to me but... I always knew this Pro Sport had the potential to be my one and only go-to rabbit and pigeon rifle now.
Looks like it is.............For now at least. It's as deadly powerful and accurate as it is beautiful to look at. I must master it thoroughly. It is an incredible rifle to have at your shoulder.
I can only finish with my absolute sincere and heartfelt thanks to Tim for doing such a remarkable and painstaking job which has turned my Pro Sport from a truly beautiful rifle to an utterly awesome shooting engine!
Thanks for reading Gentlemen.