Friday, 24 October 2014

.22 Air Arms s410 Carbine Review pt2

I bought and reviewed the s410 very early on this year, which really could only be a cosmetic review. Now that I have owned and used it for nearly a year, I can give a more comprehensive practical review of this classic air rifle.

.22 Air Arms s410 carbine with Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40 scope.

This particular S410 is a pre-anti tamper model from 2002; the serial number to tell you this can be found on the hammer housing below the breech on the right hand side. 

Air Arms will be happy to let you know the age of your rifle.

The bolt handle on the right hand side curves upwards, almost as if someone had put a left handed bolt handle on by mistake, but this was how they were fitted from the factory for a short period. I perfer it this way as it feels a lot more solid and easier to use, it sticks out more but you can just tap it up with your palm and pull back. To cock and cycle the mag you need to use clear defined motions with a firm hand.

Bolt sticks out, but I actually prefer it that way.

There is no safety on the trigger blade which shows it's an earlier model, so I got into the habit of not cocking the rifle until I needed to take a shot. The trigger is two stage and adjustable in both, though it is set up perfectly as it is. There is is a shortish first stage travel and the second stage let off is crisp, predictable, and relatively light. I don't have any equipment to measure the trigger pull but I know a good trigger when I feel one!

Old style trigger with no safety, but still has all the adjustment you could ever want.

The Air Arms moderator is very good and on firing the rifle is whisper quiet, in fact the spring and hammer are heard over the report.  It slips over the end of the barrel and is secured with a grub screw, the fitting is 10 mm diameter.

Air Arms moderator

The barrel band at the front is secured by two grub screws and can shift if the moderator is knocked hard enough; this is sorted by loosening the grub screws, letting the barrel reset itself, then locking it in place by tightening the grub screws. You know this has happened if your POI has shifted over to the left or right for no apparent reason, though you can buy after market barrel bands that have three grub screws to hold it in place more securely.

One of the two barrel band securing grub screws,

Accuracy is very good, with the selection of .22 pellets I have tried in it so far giving half inch groups at 40 yards. Shots were taken sat down with my elbows supported on my thighs so could be improved upon if bench rested.

Pellets in order of accuracy.               Muzzle energy.

Air Arms diabolo's 16gr                            11 ft/lb

H&N Field Trophies 14.65gr                      11.3 ft/lb

Falcon Accuracy Plus 13.65gr                    10.2 ft/lb

RWS Superdomes 14.5gr                          10.5 ft/lb

Falcon Accuracy Plus being a lighter pellet will give less muzzle energy than a heavier pellet.

Until I recently got a new chronoscope I had been charging the rifle to 185 bar, shooting six or seven mags of 10 pellets, then topping up the cylinder when I got back home. The guage on the rifle will only give you a rough idea of how much air you have, after seven mags the rifle guage reads 100 bar but the more accurate pump guage reads 115 bar. One time air pressure in the rifle got so low that it dumped the rest of the air over the two hours before I got home to refill it, and this is why I now shoot no more than seventy shots.

On board pressure guage gives a rough guide.

I ran a shot string through the chronoscope recently with 5,51 AA diabolo's starting at 195 bar, pellets were straight from the tin and some of their skirts were not that round either. I measured one shot in every five, removing the mag and dry firing the other four. 18 shots were recorded giving the equivalent of a 90 shot string, I was mildly surprised and very happy with the results as there was only an extreme spread of 12 FPS.

The magazine is indexed by the rifle itself from a unit that runs along the right hand side of the action, and although the mag in it's plastic casing looks like a spring loaded magazine, it's not. 

Pellets are loaded nose first through the hole in the yellow plastic.

The casing keeps the pellets in the mag and helps it slide into the action and lock it in place, though sometimes the bolt slips forwards a little if not held back, and clashes with the mag when loading it. 

The tip of the bolt can get in the way of the magazine if you're not careful.

Pulling the bolt back to change mags also cocks the rifle, so fitting a full mag will leave the rifle cocked and ready to fire. I usually leave the last chamber empty then fit the mag returning the bolt; firing the empty chamber leaves it ready to cock and load the next pellet and acts as a safety. Filling the mag with most .22 pellets is simple as they fall in leaving it free to click on to the next chamber, however pellets that are 5.52 mm tend to need a nudge in from the head of the next pellet to be loaded.

The brass pin moves up to cycle the magazine when cocking the rifle.

The rifle is light and has a compact feel to it even with the moderator fitted, with a bipod fitted it would need a sling but I am in no immediate rush for one. I have found that it's size and weight make it easy to carry over the most treacherous of ground, and it comes to the shoulder and aquires target easily whether standing, supported, kneeling, or prone. What would be a vast improvement would be an adjustable butt pad; the rifle tends to sit high in my shoulder most of the time. Everything else fits really well; the length of pull, the fit of the pistol grip, and the chequering on the forestock and pistol grip works well and is not too obtrusive on the laquered beech stock.

Simple chequering gives good grip, even when wet.

The Bushnell Throphy 3-9x40 scope has got to be the best scope I own, most of my other scopes are Nikko Sterling and as good as they are, you can see how much better this one is. The quality of the lenses is absolutely amazing by comparison, though to look at externally the low turrets would be the only indication that this is a more expensive scope. 

A rather splendid Bushnell Trophy scope.

The sight picture is crystal clear and at 9 mag there is no distortion around the rim of the lens, it transmits plenty of light well into dusk and in dark woods which is where I do a lot of shooting. It has a very fine half mil dot recticule, this also makes for a good aquisition of target in low lighting. It's sighted for 8 and 30 yards, around 20 yards is a mil dot above, 38 yards is a mil dot below and 45 yards is two generally.

Just to show the half mil dot recticule, the sight picture is really crystal clear. Honestly.

Admittedly I don't tend to shoot things as far out as I do my other Air Arms PCP which is the Shamal, but that one is .177 and the S410 is .22; the larger calibre with it's more pronounced trajectory hits home with more authority. There is room for improvement but Air Arms have addressed this over the years by bringing out the S510 and then the Ultimate Sporter, and the quality is reflected in the prices for these air rifles

Air Arms Shamal, one solid, accurate air rifle.

One niggle I do have is that when the end cap is removed to fill the rifle with air, if you are not careful the adapter on the pump can scratch the underside of the moderator when taking it off after charging. I have have to be really careful when doing this, although I could just wrap a piece of cloth around the moderator to protect it which is the better option all round.

Scuff marks on the moderator are caused when removing the charging adaptor.

So there you have it, a review on the Air Arms s410 Carbine after using it for ten months. I could have shown you some groupings with different pellets at different ranges, but truth be told the rifle easily outperforms my ability as a marksman.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.

1 comment:

  1. Brocock and BSA both make light weight repeating PCP's, Air Arms do a light weight version of the s510 which uses a side lever instead of a bolt to chamber the neck pellet (very quick), and the TDR which is the take down version of the s410 and is very light weight. All these will do under 12 ft/lb legal limit and will be as lethal or not as you desire, they'll kill small game out to 30 yards easy and kill yourself if you shot your self in the eye with one (it has happened unfortunately). They all make excellent target guns and will non lethally shoot paper targets all day as you're aware of your surroundings and were the pellet will go if it flies past the target, not sure what you really mean by 'not that lethal'

    But your top companies are Air Arms, Weihrauch, Daystate, BSA, and Brockock and all make repeating PCP's that tend to be light weight because of their design. There are American and Korean companies that make air rifles that can bring down deer and boar, but these are very powerful by comparison.