Just can’t stop myself… Even though I’m not ready to weigh in on the accuracy of the gun… I’m stuck on an endless conference call and need to stay awake…
Here are the things I like so far:
1. The gun is solid as a tank. It weighs as much as a tank, but it’s built like one too. All the parts seem to be meshing together well, there don’t seem to be any problems with any seals, the stock fits the metal breech and barrel cleanly, it all feels solid and secure when you pick it up.
2. The barrel sights are much better than I expected. I’ve been seeing lots of ads for guns with “fiber optic sights” for a while. Pretty much every pellet gun over $125 comes with them. I thought they were pretty gimmicky sounding until I actually saw how they work. During daylight anyway, they work very nicely. The rear sight has two green fibers making up the framing, and the front sight is orange. Lining it up on the target gives a sort of LED look and feel. It’s quite nice actually. I’m looking forward to sighting them in tomorrow. The back sight has a nice adjustment screw for both windage and elevation too.
3. The trigger. Very nice trigger. Very very nice. And adjustable as well. I may play with the trigger pull weight at some point, but right now it seems to be set just about how I like it, so I haven’t messed with it. You can adjust both the weight of the trigger and the length of the draw on the trigger.
4. The noise level. It’s not “quiet” but it’s not nearly as loud as other similar guns. If I’m shooting it off the deck in my back yard, you can’t hear it if you are sitting in the living room with the TV on. I doubt if any of my neighbors can even hear it unless they are out in the yard. Considering the violence of the actual firing, it’s very surprising how quiet it is. There is no “ringing” sound that most break-barrel pellet guns are infamous for. The damping mechanisms inside the gun to reduce vibration and reduce sound seem to work.
5. The power. I’m not kidding about this thing being comparable to a .22. I suppose it’s not really near the actual power, but compared to the pump style pellet guns I’m used to, this thing is a monster. The pellets I’m pulling out of the bullet trap are literally just flattened. There’s no “pellet” left, just a thin smear of lead about the size of the tip of my thumb. I have no doubt this thing could take down a deer. Seriously.
6. The safety. It automatically sets the safety when you cock it, and you can’t turn the safety off until it is fully cocked, so it is supposedly impossible to misfire while cocking. The safety “switch” is a simple thumb-operated lever on the very back of the barrel behind the breech. It’s handy and easily manipulated with your thumb. I typically leave the safety engaged until I sight in the target, and then turn it off just before firing the gun.
7. The stock. OK, it’s plastic, not wood. But I am more about function than form, and the camo stock with the adjustable cheek rest and the rubber shoulder pad with rubberized grip enhancers feels very comfortable, with the nitpicky detail of having to deal with the split front end of the stock so that the barrel can lever downwards through the stock to cock the gun. Unlike most “plastic” stocks, this one does not feel slippery, doesn’t feel fragile, doesn’t feel hollow or ring when tapped… it is quite sturdy, functional and is easy to grip.
8. The look and feel. The gun does not look or feel like a pellet gun. It looks and feels like a “real” gun. And it looks like a pretty cool gun.
Things I am sorta “meh” about:
1. The sling. It is nice that it comes with a sling and the sling connectors are already installed on the gun. I’ve had to install slings on guns without sling connectors before and it’s pretty touchy to figure out the best place to put the connectors so that they carry the gun comfortably but don’t put so much stress on the stock that you end up splintering the stock. But the sling itself is lame and is only adjustable on one side of the shoulder pad. It seems to work OK, but it’s nothing great.
2. The loading. To load the gun you have to break the barrel and insert the pellet directly into the front barrel, then fully cock the gun so that it is ready to fire. It feels sort of clunky and puts dirty, perhaps wet, fingers way too close to the compression tube for my taste. I put this in the “meh” category instead of “don’t like” because I don’t really have a good alternative to suggest. It’s sort of built into the fundamental break-barrel design. But it’s funky and awkward and you need to be mindful of the proximity of the compression tube, which can be damaged if you manage to get dirt into it.
3. The scope rail. It’s better than lots of pellet gun rails. At least it has one, my pellet pistol doesn’t and I had to buy special mount gizmos to even mount a scope on it. And it also has a screw in “adjustable” stop so that the scope won’t just slide off. Plus it is the new design (I forget the name, maybe “Weaver”) which allows scopes with built-in stops to latch firmly onto the rails (of course the scope that came with it doesn’t have that feature…). I suppose one day I might put this feature on my “things I like” list if I buy a better scope, but for now it just seems odd that the gun has such a well thought out scope rail system, and such a crappy scope. It almost seems like a deliberate design to encourage the buyer to buy a better scope.
Things I don’t like:
1. The scope.
2. Did I mention that the scope sucks?
3. The recoil/backlash. It’s more than I expected, and I expected a lot.
4. The weight. It’s actually pretty heavy.
5. The cocking. Cocking this thing is like doing chest buildup exercises. It’s a serious effort. Probably 35 pounds worth of effort every time you cock it. And there’s no perfect orientation that I’ve been able to find that makes it simple, easy and fast. I suppose over time I’ll figure the best compromise between those things, but right now it’s just work.
I will do a separate post on the gun’s accuracy when I believe I have finally convinced myself of whether it shoots straight or not.