Reply To: Air Arms Galahad

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rockymtbiker
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“zebra”

“rockymtbiker”I would concur that the styling is awkward:  Overly large barrel/cylinder gap, a breech that looks like it was inspired by the steam-punk movement, an overly-small shroud that seems designed for inefficiency of function.  The stock has some lyrical lines.  Overall I am almost irritated by how the airgun manufacturers in general ignore the information available from consumers.  Ever since the bullpup craze hit the airgun field we’ve been asking why do these short, handy little guns weigh so much.  It’s paradoxical; you design a short, maneuverable carbine seemingly intended for field use and then weigh it down with overly bulky wooden stocks or equally massive cheap synthetic stocks.  Now we see three additional bullpups enter the fray (Ataman, Hatsan and AA) and the lightest entry weighs 8 lbs.  It’s almost insulting; we know that company reps visit some of the forums from time to time and yet no one listens (never mind the customers, we’re the experts).

Like I said, I’m getting irritated; think I’ll grab my 5 lb Ruger 10/22 and go for a walk and cool down. 🙂


I also prefer lighter air rifles but I wouldn’t call it paradoxical when a bullpup weighs the same as a full length rifle. The key point of the bullpup design is that it retains the same full length barrel and air cylinder as it’s longer rifle configuration. The only difference is the stock and the addition of a trigger connection. As most of the weight is in the action, barrel and cylinder, there is no reason it should be lighter without a redesign. This is just an S510 in a new dress based on what the description says.

The thing with bullpups is that they are center balanced which makes them feel considerably lighter to shoulder than a rifle of identical weight. It is the front-heavy nature of PCP rifles that makes many of them unsuitable for off-hand shooting. 

That being said, it doesn’t feel like many of these companies are making an effort to reduce weight. They are clearly not hunters. We see very little use of modern lightweight composites like fiberglass or carbon fiber which are more suitable for bullpups than wood. Wood requires a lot of bulk to be strong and stable which makes it heavy. Firearms users have had the option to buy carbon fiber wrapped barrelsfor a while now but so far this has eluded the air gun community. A 6.5lb weight target for a bullpup is not unreasonable. 8lb is the limit of what is acceptable for me. 9lb is an abomination. 

I think it was a mistake to recycle the S510. It is materially less powerful than the Cricket, Wildcat, Vulcan and it’s hard to get excited about it. I’ll probably just ignore it like I do with all the other Air Arms guns. There is too much competition and they are late to the party. 

As for the looks, well that is just taste. I generally like the look of most bullpups. I don’t care for this one much but mainly because of the wooden stock. The gap looks like there is a piece missing. It’s not terrible though.

 


I see your point, and to a certain extent agree.  However, my frustration comes from what I perceive as manufacturers failing to take advantage of the bullpup platform in order to produce a field-friendly weapon that is not only short and compact but light as well.  I think part of the issue is cultural; my perception is that the popularity of bullpups in Eastern Europe and Russia springs from the effort to produce guns that are easy to handle from automobiles, so weight is not a really important issue.  However, no one seems to be listening to the feedback and we keep seeing “new” bullpups on which the stocks seem to have been installed as an afterthought and obviously without reading the forums.

I shouldn’t say no one.  There are actually hopeful signs on the horizon:

Snowpeak is evidently preparing to produce a follow-up to the P10 and P12.  Here is the short string: http://airgunnation.dev/topic/the-most-casual-pcp-p2015/
The prototype actually weighs 4.6 lbs but still I think you would agree that that is 4.6 lbs is a fairly impressive departure from the norm.

It gets better.  Enter the RAR VL-12:  http://russia-air-rifle.com/products/vl-12-bullpup/   Note that the “large” model weighs a whopping 3.9 lbs.  The good news in this is that RAR has reputedly been purchased by Kalibrgun and the rifles should arrive here by the end of the year.

But let’s take it a step further.  Suppose a manufacturer actually started listening to forum feedback and decided to make the ultimate hunting pcp.  Take the minimalist design of the VL-12 and marry it to this:  http://air-ordnance.com/modoc-p-963.html   I know, I know, what do they have in common?  Actually nothing, but there is, I believe, a really game-changing innovation (actually two, perhaps) hidden in the Modoc:  An aluminum barrel.  What a natural marriage for the low pressure, low temperature environment of pcp’s.  Take your minimalist VL-12 bullpup, replace the traditional steel barrel with a choked aluminum barrel, and I suspect the weight would be about the same as a S&W Model 29 .44 mag handgun with a 6.5″ barrel.  Add a carbon fiber moderator to the VL-12 and the bullpup would likely be lighter than the handgun.  Does anyone else find it ironic that Air Ordnance would debut the innovations of aluminum barrel and self-contained air reservoir/valve assemblies on a 19th Century blackpowder replica?

So perhaps there is hope that some manufacturers are listening.  I take heart that AA is evidently already responding to feedback.  I just wish the entire industry were as responsive.