This is a long anticipated pistol. It fits the gap left by the exodus of the Aeron Brno and similar pistols. For a long while now, people wanting to get into target pistol shooting have been able to start at the bottom with something like a Crosman 2240, or enter the giddying heights of Styer, Feinwerkbau or Walther offerings. With nothing much in between.
The Chinese to the rescue I suppose. I would dearly have liked to have entered the market at this point and indeed, one of my good friends on the CAPA, pmh, suggested we do just this with his “let’s build a pistol” post last year. The whole idea abandoned because of the liabilities involved.
So here we have it, the eagerly awaited Air Force One “Trophy Target ”
There is also a “Verminator” model but the less said about that the better, it is in .22 caliber. All ten metre target guns are .177 of course.
Anyway, this really is all about getting the best from your new purchase, we are a gunsmiths so lets get it apart! It really isn’t hard, there are two screws, one holding the trigger guard (more about that later) and one in the rear of the grip holding the back of the breech – pretty obvious:
It comes apart pretty readily and there is nothing unfamiliar here, anyone having taken any airgun apart in the last millenium will find themselves in very familiar territory:
I really hoped to see a two stage trigger here, I really did. No such luck though but the position of the trigger housing and the sheer size of the Beech wood grip does give rise to the possibility of a “drop in” conversion in the future.
Now you will notice, comparing the two images this one and the one above, that the hammer has gone from a dull black to a shiny silver, this is the result of polishing. It is not all I polished though. I carefully stripped the trigger and gave all sliding surfaces a good polish after taking out all of the imperfections with a slip stone.
Here is the actuator valve, the body is black anodised aluminium and next to it is the Crosman valve from a 2240 for comparison. I let you draw your own conclusions but tomorrow I will put it across the Chrono.
A shot of the transfer port. Gone is that bloody awkward round plastic seal of the Crosman and we have two O rings one top and one bottom. I would rather hope they are Poly too and from the look and feel of them they could well be. A refreshing change from the Chewing Gum used in that other well known Chinese CO2 offering – the QB78!
Gone too is that really ridiculous countersunk cap bolt that you needed an Allen key for that nobody had, replaced instead with a 3mm Cap Screw. The Breech is now easily separated from the tube below. Indeed, all of the fasteners on this gun are Metric, something that the youth of Europe understand.
As you saw above, I have been busy with the polisher on the important parts and this small silver spring guide did not escape my attention. It guides the hammer spring so I took off any and all small imperfections and ridges. Remember, being a Target Pistol, smooth is everything.
So far I have waxed lyrical about it’s entry level status as a gun available to the beginner without much outlay (they retail at £159.99 at the moment), there is also the fact that it comes complete with an adjustable sight, the breech is milled aluminium with scope rails, the O rings actually look like they might just be fit for purpose, the front sight blade is removable and easily changed for a different width/height/colour replacement (just as soon as I make some). So what don’t I like about this gun?
Well here you go. First off – the barrel. It is a convenient 12mm so I can see myself being busy with some replacements, this is not a quality item and sadly not especially well finished either. I could have easily slashed my wrists with the burrs on the crown of the barrel. However – easily remedied:
Next up, the wood grip. In the immortal words of Phil over on the CAPA – “It looks like somebody’s third year GCSE woodworking project”! Now that paints quite a vivid picture.
What do you do with this? The only thing it has going for it is that there is plenty of it to have a go at and even if you made a complete Sow’s ear of the “modifications” you could swift whittle one from the remnants of a leftover cricket bat. It couldn’t possibly look any worse.
I can see a whole new Cottage Industry spring up here supplying aftermarket grips for this gun. But hey, maybe that is a good thing?
Generously it is branded as “ambidextrous”. I reserve judgement. “Clublike” could be another description. So okay, I don’t like the grip but as I said, that could be a good thing for a good few people. The overall gun though is great. It fits right into it’s own slot in the market and if it gets more people into Target Shooting that cannot possibly be a bad thing.
One final observation before we leave this post. When I took the gun out of the box at Manchester Airguns, Graham Walker took one look at the CO2 Tube Cap. “Oh Bugger, they put a hole in it!” He was right, there is a hole drilled crosswise through the cap. A bit like all of those Webleys and the immortal words “Do Not Remove” then they go put a screwdriver slot in it! Temptation is too much. I can see a real need for a batch of replacement caps very soon, you just know they are going to be levered:
Finally, remember the trigger guard reference above? Girlie, that’s the best description, Girlie.
Some of the Neanderthals I know won’t even be able to get their finger in the guard, let alone squeeze the trigger, definitely a product opportunity there for someone…….