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A Hunters Review of the SMK TH208 .22

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I am a simple man living a simple life, snippets of which I publish on my blog www.1nomad.blogspot.com.


The meat I and my family eat is procured from the wild, and I choose to hunt it with an air rifle. Recently, I found myself in the market for a new rifle and not wishing to dice with the uncertainties of the second hand market, I desired a brand new one. But which one? The market place is awash with offerings but very few within my budget of £250. I went direct to SMK on the strength of their 30 year reputation for affordable rifles, and put my plight to them in writing describing my situation and my needs. The recommendation from them was their flagship model, the SMK TH208 .22, and shortly after, I had one in my possession.




Upon inspection it was quite apparent that here was a rifle that was loaded with the sorts of features I had only seen on those costing nearly twice the £199.95 price tag of the TH208. The first to jump out of course is that thumbhole in the hardwood stock. I am a big fan of this feature due to the way it enables the shooter to comfortably tuck the rifle butt into the shoulder and gain a secure hold.




The Thumbhole Stock is both comfortable and practical.




The light chequering on the foregrip is a welcome bonus and added to my overall impression that this was most certainly an outdoor hunting rifle.



Chequering aids grip in wet conditions.



At the rear of the action, sits an automatic resettable safety. This, for me, is exceptional. I cannot tell you how valuable the ability to reset the safety is in the field and many hunters will attest to the piece of mind gained by being able to make your rifle safe if your quarry evades you.




Moving forward along the action of the TH208, you have a scope arrestor plate fixed to the sight rail. Evidence again of attention to the hunting shooters needs, after all, accuracy is paramount and ensuring your optic doesn't creep and constantly re-checking zero saves a lot of pellets!


The TH208 is finished off at the business end with a barrel weight intended to reduce muzzle flip and enhance accuracy. Yet another feature with the shooter in mind.




Needless to say I was itching to get this equipment out into the field, but as is my habit after only being able to afford second hand rifles, I stripped the gun down and gave the internals a cursory clean and regrease. By doing this, I was able to fully acquaint myself with the essence of the rifle and was most impressed by its simplicity and the workmanship I discovered.




Next, the SMK 3-9x40 mildot scope was mounted on solid Sportsmatch mounts. Now I had an excellent sight picture right out to the limits of my hunting range in a very sturdy looking optic.




I'll admit I struggled at first to get consistent groups until I realised my over exuberant 'breaking' of the barrel had knocked the barrel weight loose. This was quickly remedied by simply tightening the two grubs screws located on the underside and the resultant accuracy was staggeringly good. I later removed the barrel weight in favour of a silencer, but found it needless as it added considerably to the length and muted a muzzle report that was already acceptably low.




I found the factory setting of the trigger to be just a little too far back for my personal taste, but as the trigger is fully adjustable, I had it exactly how I liked it within seconds thanks to the easily accessible screw and found the trigger release to be fast and crisp.




Among the many features, deep blueing like this makes the SMK TH208 exceptional value for money.




The TH208 punched consistently tight groups from 10 yards zero out to 25 yards (the limit of my woodland 'range') with the phenomenal ThUnderBolt .22 zinc pellets that had been supplied. This performance bodes very well as the rifle has yet to settle down and 'bed in' and, hopefully, this shooter will improve too!




The ThUnderbolt .22 Pellets were not only accurate and consistent, they packed a punch too!


The SMK TH208 is capable of putting the pellet exactly where you want it.



Results were equally encouraging over the chronograph with the ThUnderBolts giving low (18fps) fps variation at 10.7 ft/lbs. Ample power for hunting that usually rises over time and with use, therefore, investing in a small chronograph is highly advisable for all airgun owners.


Interestingly the TH208 did not seem to mind which pellets were used unlike some that can be very pellet fussy.


AA Field Diabolos, Bisley Superfields, RWS Superdomes, RWS Superfields, Norica Apaches and SMK Spitfires all grouped very well. I did find that the pellets with smaller heads and thinner skirts fared best and the ThUnderBolts appeared overall to be the perfect match.




The TH208 truly is a pleasure and a joy to shoot. I confess that I probably got carried away with my accuracy, pellet, and power tests, but I firmly blame the TH208 for the enjoyment it imparted, willing me to fire just one more pellet. Be warned, this feeling does not appear to wear off and firing nearly a whole tin of pellets and making small ragged holes in at least one packet of paper targets happens far sooner than you would expect!




I set out to buy a capable hunting rifle. Weight wise, the TH208 is heavy enough to keep the effects of recoil minimised, but still light enough not to wear out your arms and this makes target acquisition very quick and easy indeed. It is sturdy enough to take the numerous knocks and bangs any gun that lives outside of the cabinet can expect to receive and, for me, therein lies its beauty.


Like many others, I wanted a rifle that delivered benefits and features far exceeding its price tag. If you are one of them, you need look no further as I have certainly found it in the SMK TH208.


This time, the proof isn't in the pudding, it is in my dinner!




This is a Hunting Rifle that delivers performance far exceeding the asking price.

Edited by milegajo
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Cheers Fellas. I recommend the usual procedure with new guns, get the barrel pulled through, factory grease out and good moly in and once you've run her in you'll have a darn good. hunting tool.

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You didn't pay for that rifle did you Mike, they gave you it for free as you promised a review?


When I last saw you using it you were not do complimentary if memory served me right. Did you really shoot that bird with the SMK.




So they letting you keep it now you have given a complimentary review?


Must admit it wasn't my cup of tea when I saw it, felt like a bag of bolts to handle and shoot. Think I would save a little more and get a better rifle, I wouldn't feel happy shooting vermin with it, maybe paper targets.





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I think I'd be overly dismissive and harsh if id given Tony Wall £500 for a hw95k only to have my mate hit a bottle cap i was missing with his not stage one tuned smk th208!


To answer your question, I did so happen to mention my blog (was worth a plug!) and they very kindly did a deal.


I like it and stand by what i say. You have to live with being smk'd my friend. As does the squirrel I shot.


I still prefer .177 but like having a .22 to keep my skills sharp and keep me challenged despite the difficulties i may have adjusting between them. It also comes in handy for quarry that need a good punch being more forgiving on placement.

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It's not a harsh review mate, just my opinion on the rifle.


Yep you sure did hit a bottle top I missed a few times, I think that's the shooter rather than the rifle. Your a better shot than me which I admit.


However I would be alot better if I could open my caravan door and shoot a target all day every day as I pleased. I only get to out one every fortnight if I'm lucky due to work/home life. I'll get better at shooting.


However I didn't say you couldn't hit the target with one, just said it felt like a bag of bolts to hold and fire.


Sorry for any misunderstanding caused. I still stand by my statement though. I would save a little more and get a lightening or 95 standard new or second hand. I think maybe if you had to shell out for that rifle you to may have saved a little more and purchased a better rifle. Your 95K only cost 150 notes didn't it? Money better spent in my opinion.





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Your opinion is fine and accepted. In fact relative to an expertly tuned 95, the SMK would feel unrefined.


I traded my 97, which cost me £300, for the 95.


Second hans market is a gamble, price and product wise, the exercise was to find something brand new.

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Dude I've owned a BSA supersport, BSA superstar, two tx200 in mk2 and 3 and fired lot of other peoples springers and all felt better than that SMK.


I don't think I could justify even SPENDING that much money on that SMK.


But it's my opinion and everyone's differ.





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Mawders I think it was obvious from the outset that it was a 'you give me a rifle I'll do you a review' deal, especially with the line that ThUnderbolts and SMK Spitfires performed well :laugh: its like reading a Nigel Allen review ;)


Nonetheless its clear that Mike has a talent for the written word and I take my hat of to him that he's putting his talents to good use, indeed I think his stories woukd make an interesting read in the big mags, especially considering his background and choice of lifestyle - its something a little bit different and unique.


Well done Mike, I wish you all the success with any future ventures

Edited by Elliott

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It was either an unbiased and honest review in which case people might find it useful, or it's a pack of lies produced at the behest of SMK in which case you might as well print it off and wipe your arse with it like the rest of the mag reviews.

Which is it?

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Agreed Elliott but don't forget those people that read such thing and part with valuable money in this current climate only to be very disappointed.


I don't really agree with jumping into bed with companies for freebies and writing a biased review for the sake of benefiting for free whilst others lose money. That's why the comics stay on the shelf at my local shop.

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