Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Walther Rotek and RWS Model 34

At the Umarex booth I spoke with Neil Dickinson. Neil is the National Sales Manager for the company that imports several brands of air guns into the United States.

Neil Dickinson and the Walther Rotek R8

He showed me the Walther Rotek R8. This rifle is a lineal descendant from the Hammerli 850 Airmagnum, but the R8 is quite different.  Neil handed me the specifications and pointed out that the R8 on high pressure air, up to 230 bar, shoots a .22 pellet at 829 fps. While the CO2 powered ,22 850 is rated at 655. With a Manelli stock and a Lothar Walther barrel, the Rotek R8 is an air rifle from a far distant country.

We also looked at Walther’s top of the line break barrel the LGV I asked Neil how this rifle differed from the RWS Model 34. “I’ll show you,” he said, and went to get a M34 from another display. “Now, cock them”. You can’t shoot any of the guns at the Shot Show so cocking and uncocking is as much as you get.

The LVG is significantly smoother than the 34 so much so that I was shocked since the folks I know who have them all love them. It made me very curious about how smoothly the LGV’s vibration reduction system shoots.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Benjamin Armada

This is a reposting of my Armada article from last week. At that time I was unable to get the font to display correctly. Thanks to all who have read it despite my shortcomings as a blogger.


Crosman Sets Sail into the Black Rifle Country with the Benjamin Armada.

The Armada is based on the Benjamin Marauder. It is a Marauder rifle without the traditionally shaped wood or synthetic stock. The new stock starts with a polymer center section that extends from just behind the back end of the air tube to just ahead of the manometer. Attached to this center section is a perforated metal tube called a “hand rail” that extends to the front end of the air tube. The handrail is slid over an extension of the central stock and held on with four screws. The black, handrail sports a full length picatinny rail on the top and bottom as well as perforations on the side that accept all kinds of tactical accessories. Behind the trigger guard is an attachment point for hand grips that fit the AR-15/M16 family of rifles. Also from the black rifle tribe is a stock fitting. I am not sure if socks distended for paintball markers will fit, but as Crosman says the Armada is “Backwards compatible with AR15 mil spec grips and stocks”. Compared to my 1050s era 140 all I can say is, “Is this thing tricked out or what”.

Other non-Marauder parts are a breach with an integral picatinny rail. This extends the top rail length to about 20 inches, and a front shroud support that replaces the barrel band.

On board the Benjamin Armada Crosman sets sail bound for the world AR15 tactical accessories. For many airgunners this might seem a non starter, but consider this, my local Walmart sells these accessories. The Crosman guys talked a lot about the rifles compatibility with AR15 accessories and about the quality of the Magpul stock and grip.

The basic Armada is in .22 and sales for about $800. For $200 more there is the Magpul edition. The differences is that the more expensive gun sports MagPul butt stock and grips. The butt stock is extendable, similar to the M4 carbine, with provisions for intermediate lengths between fully extended and fully collapsed.
The Armada comes with a bipod and a scope bundling it with the two most likely accessories a new owner would have to buy. Scope mounts are 37mm tall which is commonly used with flat top AR15s The scope mounted on the display rifles at the Shot Show was a Centerpoint 4-16X side focus with a 56mm objective.

$800 puts this rifle out of the $500 price point of the Marauder. For that extra money it offers step up in the cool factor, but in realistic terms it accepts all kinds of tactical accessories common to the M16/M4 lookalike world, The bundled scope and bipod makes the price point more attractive.

Among the accessories that can be attached are iron sights the full length rail makes iron sights a realistic option for the Armada. Walmart in Pocatello has polymer front and rear sights for $50 each. That’s something you can't do on a stock Marauder.

Crosman folks at the Shot Show said that there were plans to add .177 and .25 to the Armada. My own experience with the .25 Marauder would make me want to wait until the .25 is on the market.  

How does it shoot? That remains to be seen. Like a .22 Marauder I suppose, and the .22 Marauder is the best selling PPC air rifle in the United States. The .22 has come under some criticism for accuracy, but many of these critics really ought to be shooting more expensive air rifles.

Magpul edition and the stock Armada are the Crosman web site and several internet retailers. Things change so if you go any of these sites look for things like “Not in Stock or “preorder. now” Make sure they have guns to ship before you put down your credit card number.

OK traditional air gunners, is this rifle meant for you?


Remember the phrase “Backward compatible”? I think it fits some shooters too. This rifle is attractive to folks with their favorite tactical accessories already mounted on the black rifle of their choice, and who might be tempted into the PPC world.

The Armada is a smart and, I think, a well studied move on Crosman’s part.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hatsan Air Stripper

Hatsan is offering an Airstripper as an accessoiriy. Many folks at the Shot Show may have missed this because the air stripper was displayed on the backside of the panel that displayed their new line of QuietEnergy PCP air rifles. Hatsan representatives said that the stripper would come standard on all the non- QuietEnergy PCP rifles.

This air stripper is a small but significant addition for existing Hatsan rifles. While they do not taime the report, the stripper dose address negative affect that “crack” we all hear from unmoderated pcps has on the pellet’s stability. Air escaping from a tube will form vortices that exceed the sound barrier producing the “Crack” that we hear even though the pellet is traveling below the speed of sound. Some of that energy is transmitted to the pellet to the detriment of accuracy.

I think that a well designed moderator performs the same functions. but for airgunners without a moderator or with no need for one, An air stripper could be a valuable accessory.