Saturday, 19 January 2013

Air Arms Shamal REVIEW

The rifle is not to large but the walnut stock adds a bit of weight


Well it's been two weeks since my last blog so it's about time I did the promised review on my .177 Air Arms Shamal. I've mentioned bits and pieces about it in previous blogs but it's time to do a more complete review.

Looking sexy with swivel mount sling and scope

   This was Air Arms' first attempt at a PCP air rifle (Daystate brought out the first) and is a rather sexy bit of kit, although it's quite large and heavy compared to most PCP's available today. Filling it to the max 207 bar, you don't really get a levelling off of the power curve till about 30/40 shots in - this still leaves me with about 35/40 fairly consistent shots, at which point the curve rises again briefly before dropping off again.  With no pressure gauge on the rifle itself, you have to rely on the pressure gauge on the pump. So I tend to fill it to about 180 bar and i'm ready for 40 constant shots, and thats where I have my scope zeroed in to 30 yards using Air Arms Diabolo's(8.4gr). I have an old Nikko Sterling 4-12-40 silver antler scope and the image was very misty, I was scratching my brains tring to work out what the problem was and believe it or not it was just a dirty lens and there's me thinking I was going to have to invest in a new scope (numpty).
Max fill and breach

Teat shots taken with slight gusts of wind
Bolt twists and pulls back, plenty of space under the scope

   The Shamal is a single shot rifle with a slightly tapered hole in the breech to place the pellet which means I have to point the rifle down slightly otherwise the pellet just slips back out again, but now i'm used to this it's not a problem. The bolt pulls back by a knob at the rear and there's no safety on the rifle, but I have always found that the best safety is my trigger finger - I don't place it on the trigger till a shot presents itself, and with a two stage trigger which is superbly built I have no trouble reaching the second stage with its nice crisp release of the sear. I believe it's the same 'olympic trigger' you find on the 100 series - having seen an exploded view of the 100, although most of the exterior is very similar, the internals are very different, such as having a regulator and different valve design, though the hammer and spring are the same with an allen key adjustment to adjust the spring tension slightly .

Olympic trigger
Bolt locked
Bolt cocked

Now apart from the rare flier (which is down to me) this rifle is unbelievably accurate. At 30 yards it can put 10 shots on 2 pence piece and that's with me just supporting my forearm, so with a bipod it should be quite devastating to the local bunny and woody population. However what looks like a moderator is actually a long muzzle break but is still moderately quiet, this is attached to the fill port cap and comes off as one unit by unscrewing a cover for the 1/8 fill port as no adaptor is needed on this early model (00071). Once this is removed, you can remove the muzzle break by undoing a small screw, and a custom made moderator could replace it (though the inner barrel is wider than the 10mm you find on the 400 series), The loudest sound I hear is the spring and hammer release when fired.

Muzzel break
Muzzel break and fill port cover come off in one to reveal 1/8 fill port

The stock is made of walnut and is sculpted with a craftsman's eye. There is chequereing on the pistol grip and along the forearm, with a raised unique comb which fits perfectly to my cheek - just as well i'm right handed as i 'm not aware of Air Arms ever doing a left handed version! The buttplate adjusts up and down  making it ideal for me to shoot comfortably and handle for quick aquisition of target (i'm sure this is a Bisley aftermarket product).

Adjustable shoulder pad

Thumb rest on stock

Though the gun is heavier than most, it's quiet which makes it perfect when using in a hide even though it's 45 inches long, and thank god it has a sling for those stalking moments in the winter months. This rifle is not everyone's cup of tea but I love it, you know you've got a piece of kit in your hands that will last for generations to come, just like my Weihrauch HW35 Luxus.

Taking advantage of a still winters day shooting

This rifle is brimming with character and that is what I look for in a rifle. The good points far outweigh any little niggles I have come across  - in fact I find them quite endearing.

 Taking that 30 yard shot

   Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe O.B.E



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