SPA PR900W review – a great super cheap PCP gun

Forums PCP Airguns SPA PR900W review – a great super cheap PCP gun

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    This little chinese gun has many names… like SPA (Snow Peak Airguns) PR900W or mrod Varmint Airmax or Onix Initzia. In all cases, its the same gun with just another name.

    Today, I received my SPA PR900W in .22 and I am beyond impressed. I mean… what would you expect from a 219 dollar PCP with a magazine? It features a nice Monte Carlo type beech stock with a cheek piece only on the left side but from the form of the stock I think a left handed person would have no problems shooting this gun. It even has a manometer on the underside of the gun. The checkering is done quite nicely but it is almost as if it wasn´t there as it is covered in thick clear laquer – more of an optic thing than really for grip. The machining isn´t bad. Not top notch but certainly way way beyond what you would expect from a super cheap Chinese gun. Impressive! The crowning was done perfectly so accuracy is not in danger because of a bad muzzle. The safety is in front of the trigger and thank god not automatic. A push from left to right – safe. A push from right to left – fire. Simple and effective – similar to AirArms. 

    The accessories that come with the gun are remarkable. Better than with most guns that cost twice or even three to four times as much. You get a 7 shot rotary magazine in .22 or a 9 shot magazine in .177 – it is worth to note that the magazine is large enough that even classic Predator Polymags fit in there but you have to loosen the screw a bit or they will sit too tight to rotate the magazine correctly! And the magazines are machined of aluminum – no plastic crap except for the “lid”. Further you get a single shot tray, a spare air transfer port (one sub 12 fpe and one full power 25+ fpe – in Europe, in the US you seem to get only the high power one already installed in the gun) and a complete set of spare O-rings. The gun has a moderator with open sights attached to its barrel which is held in place by an allen screw below the barrel. Its not the quietest gun but is isn´t too loud, either. In sub 12 foot pound it is super backyard friendly and in 25+ foot pound it is bearable with about 75 decibels. 

    The gun shoots at around 550 fps in sub 12 foot pound and between about 700 – 860 fps in 25+ fpe with 15.89 gr JSB Jumbos. I haven´t had the opportunity to shoot long range yet but it was one hole at 25 yards after thoroughly cleaning the barrel so I would expect sub inch groups at 50 yards. Accuracy is not an issue with this gun – it seems to shoot just as good as any other PCP out there.

    The gun is ultra light and weighs just about 5 pounds unscoped and it is more of a carbine with an overall length of 38.6 inches from stock end to muzzle. The outer diameter of the barrel is only 0.48″. The stock is just 1.5″ thick so it will fit every childs hand. I believe it is the lightest PCP I ever held in my hands. It is also very short and thin which makes it an ideal brush gun or a gun for kids. It almost looks and feels like a toy. The air reservoir holds just 100 cc (its just 22 mm or 0.87″ in diameter – look at it in relation to the 30 mm scope tube!) but it will give you at least 25-30 good shots, about 4 magazines worth. Looking down the barrel it is flawless – hard to believe that it is Chinese made. It has a nice floating barrel with a barrel band to hold the rear sights (which probably need to be removed when you scope the rifle).

    The trigger is not adjustable and made of aluminum (again… I´ve seen guns for triple the price with a plastic trigger!). It is a single stage trigger and has a bit of creep but it really is not that bad. Not a match trigger but a really good hunting trigger. You get used to it very fast and the slight amount of creep becomes predictable. It breaks at 3 1/4 pounds so it is more on the heavy side but still far from super heavy. The machined aluminum trigger has quite sharp edges but it feels comfortable and this can easily be helped with a Dremel or a piece of sand paper.

    The 12 mm scope rail is a little bit of an issue as it is very short and limits your adjustments as far as scope positioning goes but I found a Raven 6-24×50 scope with a standard mildot reticle that does the job fine for me. I´ve had some misfeeds (not many and not terrible though) so overall, the magazine works well. You might need to put a drop of Loctite in the threads of the screw in the middle of the magazine so it will not come loose. I noticed that the misfeeds will not happen when the screw is positioned right. (EDIT: Now, after a few days and a few hundred pellets the magazine performs flawlessly – seems to really have been just the screw) The filling probe needs to be connected to a threaded quick fill adapter and it is a bit too long so you have to kinda position it in the port so that you don´t blow out the O-rings when filling. I saw that on some guns, it goes through the air reservoir and is held in place by the barrel – not on my gun. But this is just a minor issue and very easy to fix with a bit of tape or large O-rings that will hold it in position. 

    Overall for a PCP gun with a 7 shot rotary magazine and super accessories you really don´t find anything where you could make a serious complaint with regard to the 220 dollar price tag it simply is a great gun! Certainly… it has features like the filling probe and the short scope rail or the magazine screw where I would be seriously pissed off on a 1000 dollar gun – but hey… a accurate and great working gun for 220 bucks? Screw these minor annoyances…

    Stripping the gun is super easy and when you see it taken apart you will realize that there is not much that could go wrong. It really is as simple as it can be. No unnecessary bells and whistles that will bite you one day. Beautifully engineered! Changing the transfer port is literally a 15 min issue. If you just want some backyard plinking and squirrel smoking in the middle of a town where you are worried about overpenetration and/or sound – just put in the backyard friendly sub 12 foot pound transfer port and you´re good to go – more than sufficient to kill a squirrel, rabbit or pigeon at 25 yards and with a good ol´ Polymag you don´t have to worry too much about overpenetration. It will probably still go through the critter but certainly not hundreds of yards beyond it. Wanna go out for some serious long range hunting? Put in the 25+ foot pound transfer port and you have energy to spare…

    You need to empty the gun in order to take it apart. First, you have to unscrew the manometer (can be done with pliers), then take out the three screws on the bottom side that hold the stock in place. After that, unscrew the screw of the barrel band and just push the whole barrel band forward towards the muzzle. Then unscrew the allen screw at the very bottom end (towards the stock) of the gun and take out the spring and spring centering rod, then unscrew the allen screw in the breech and lift up the barrel from the air reservoir and here you are – the small 0.39″ round brass thing with the hole in it between the breech and the air reservoir is the transfer port. Change the .125″ to the 0.055″ to make your rifle shoot at sub 12 fpe or the other way round to go over 25 fpe. If you are a skilled machinist, you can even make your own metal transfer ports on a lathe and tweak the gun to shoot at a specific velocity. Assemble in reverse direction and that´s all there is to it, very simple. Be careful not to lose the trigger stop (just a small bar behind the trigger) in the process. Mine was loose so you might want to take it out as soon as you lift the barrel off the stock and put it in when you´re about to drop it back in the stock.

    There are no sling swivels or studs attached. Want a bipod? Buy some 20 buck bipod and 2 dollar studs on ebay, no problem. The stock is thick enough to securely hold a bipod stud.

    My honest opinion – with this price tag and what you get for it you simply can´t go wrong. It is a great beginners PCP and a nice plinker and hunter for serious PCP freaks and probably the best entry level PCP for young kids. A PCP gun with a wooden stock, a good 12 groove barrel, fully adjustable open sights, 12 mm scope rail, a moderator, a manometer and 7 shot magazine for just over 200 bucks… Watch out, Benjamin! The Chinese are coming! lol

    I can heartly recommend this gun to anyone. Bearing in mind what it costs and what you get for your hard earned money you will not be disappointed and you will probably even be very positively surprised.

    Here is a 25 yard shot group (I pulled one shot, that was not the guns fault). The photo is actually tilted, so the pulled shot at the left went up in reality. Its in cm not inches lol. 

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    blackdiesel
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    Nice review, thanks. Where did you buy it from?

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    Thank you. I live in Czech Republic so I bought it here from a local dealer. You can look at mrodair.com but they seem to have it quite expensive for 275 bucks (but still a good deal for what you get imho). I heard from a dude who bought it for 219 in the US.

    You might want to try to ask your local dealer or just browse the web for the above mentioned different names of the gun 🙂 Sorry that I can´t be more of a help in this case.

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    blackdiesel
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    Ok.I checked Mrodair.  They have a special going for $219 and free shipping.  I might just grab one.

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    Yep, 219 dollars is ok, that comes close to what I paid for it here. You certainly won´t be disappointed. Drop a line in here as soon as you tried it. I just recommend pulling about 10-15 cleaning patches with Ballistol through the barrel, mine came really dirty – but after that it shot like a charm, see the 25 yard group above.

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    davecole
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    Pope, can you post a pic of one of the transfer ports? I did not get a spare and I have a friend that has a lathe.  

    I’ve been thinking about making a sub 12fpe gun so it can be shot at the local club’s indoor range. 

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    Hey Dave, 

    nive to meet you again, didn´t know you´re also on airgun nation 🙂 

    Sure, here you are – please note that I made the drawing for another air transfer port as I wanted to see if I can get even more power out of it. The sub 12 fpe hole is of a 0.055″ (or 1,40 mm) diameter, not 1/7″ as in the drawing. The port shown on the photo is actually the sub 12 fpe version. It also has a champfering on both sides (see photo), I guess it will be sufficient to take a bit larger drill and just slightly widen the tops of the holes by a little bit. No need for polishing – air transfer ports hate mirror like surfaces. 

    If you want it for an indoor range, you might want to try to make it as weak as possible. Germany, Italy and Hungary for example have a 5.5 fpe limit on airguns and they still sell them in .22 caliber so a 10 meter target rifle will still be perfectly accurate with ridiculously low speeds like 450 fps. You can try to make the hole even smaller like 1 mm or 0.040″, chrony it and work your way up from there to get your desired speed. Or possibly just make multiple ports, for example 0.040″, 0.050″ and 0.055″ and try out what suits best.

    The 0.055″ will deliver right around 550 fps and due to its choking effect on the airflow kinda regulates the rifle so there is not much fluctuation. Its not like going between 700 – 850 fps like the classic unregulated high power rifle but more between about 530 – 560 fps, there will probably be no bigger total spread than about 30 fps and the rifle delivers between 10 – 11 fpe with a JSB Jumbo 15.89 gr. The effiency is catastrophic and will be just about the same as in high power as the rifle releases the same amount of air but you got yourself a cheap regulator. lol  

    The British have been smoking rabbits out to 60 yards with sub 12 fpe rifles so they still pack a good punch even at range but the drop of a .22 is insane.  

    Cheers, 
    Falko 

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    Dan25
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    This is the same gun I came across earlier and posted “Cheap PCP……”  Strange I never saw anything about it then a quick second thread.

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    Dan… maybe not many people own them yet – it might be the fact that this gun is so incredibly cheap that people probably generally think there is no way that it can be used as anything but a club and go with other guns like the Marauder which have been thoroughly tested and are known to be good shooters.

    The more I shoot this chinese thing the more I love it. In my opinion, there can´t possibly be any better value for this kind of money.

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    blackdiesel
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    Where can one find the sub 12 FPE transfer port?  I want this gun strictly for backyard 35 yards plinking.  I have 4 other 22 cal that get 30 FPE and higher.   

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    Deja
    Spectator
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    I have the cp1m co2 pistol and its more or less a better made 2240 clone. really solid. 

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    Diesel,

    I´m surprised that they don´t seem to be adding the second transfer port in the US sold versions.

    If you want stricly a sub 12 fpe plinking rifle, there are several possibilities:

    – as the transfer port is made of brass, you can weld/solder your high power port shut and redrill the hole in 0.055″
    – you can ask a friend to make you one on a lathe (or do it yourself if you have access to a lathe), its a very simple part, see photos and drawing above.
    – you can make a plastic transfer port by cutting out several layers from a PET bottle and glueing them together to match the form or simply manually work a piece of thicker acrylic to meet the specs
    – you could make yourself a plaster form using your current transfer port and make the sub 12 fpe transfer port from hot glue, might be worth a try – after all, there is only going pressure through it when you pull the trigger but its not constantly under pressure
    – you could contact mrod air with the question why the second transfer port is added to the EU versions but not in the US and ask if they have one in sub 12 fpe
    – you could buy the .177 version of the gun which will be substantially less powerful than the .22 and also shoot flatter

    Just a few suggestions from my side…

     

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    blackdiesel
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    Mrodair states it does not carry the sub 12 fpe TP.  I do not have an air shortage so I guess I will just have a 26 fpe plinker.  I have a sturdy backstop (have shot 22-25 and 30 cal) so the extra power is not a deal breaker.  I just wanted a low power alternative. 

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    Its unfortunate that they don´t have that thing in stock but I think it isn´t bad to have the extra energy. I took the 12 fpe port out of my gun and I don´t think it will see it again anytime soon – you wouldn´t save air, anyway as the smaller port just chokes the airflow but the amount of air released stays practically the same.

    I can almost promise you that you will take it for a serious hunt one day – probably very soon. It certainly is fun to have a plinker with open sights but as soon as you put a scope on it and find your best pellet, that thing will really perform and it is so light, short and tiny that it is simply like made for carrying it in the field.

    Here is what I got from a full air reservoir – I think (for optimum energy) it´s best to fill it to about 160-170 bar and sacrifice a magazine or two:

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    blackdiesel
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    Mine happen to love the cheap Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum domes in the metal tins.  I had to order a LDC from TKO because it’s a little too loud for what I wanted it for which is a backyard casual shooter.  The LDC should be here in a week.   

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    Cool that you got yourself one! Mine only starts really barking when it reaches about 150 bars and max. velocity – otherwise, it´s more or less backyard friendly but I mentioned above that only the 12 fpe version is really quiet. An additional moderator surely isn´t a bad idea.

    And Crosman Premier Ultra Magnums? Almost can´t get any better than that – a cheap gun that loves cheap ammo. That´s perfect for your plinking purposes! 

    What do you think of the gun in general? Its amazing for the money, isn´t it? And its size and weight… when you take into account that any other PCP that offers the same (wooden stock, magazine, pressure gauge… and last but not least its accuracy) costs at least twice as much I´d say one really does get much more for his money than he would expect. How does your magazine work? Did you have to reposition the screw and fix the threads with Loctite or didn´t you experience any misfeeds? I got my magazine to feed flawlessly now. Not a single misfeed in about 500 shots. And what do think of the single stage trigger? Do you also have that slight amount of creep? How does it feel for you? Did you put a scope on the rifle?

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    blackdiesel
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    So far I’m loving it.  I’ve only had it a couple of days so haven’t shot an entire tin through it.  I tried the AA 16 gr and JSB 18 gr pellets also.  So far the CPUM and AA shoot the best.  I haven’t had a magazine jam yet.  Every so often it feels a little chunky pushing a pellet in.  I haven’t tested to see if it’s resulting in flyers.  But first impressions are all positive.  Hopefully, this weekend I will be able to test it at 50 yards and longer.  I shot a tree about 70 yards away and watched the pellet’s fight to see if the pellets are stable or spiraling.  They seem to be very stable and no left or right curving either.  So I think it will do well at 50 yards and maybe even longer ranges. I will also check the chrony numbers to see what’s the best fill pressure for me.  

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    Dan25
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    Im happy to hear the good reviews on this affordable option.  Its amazing how many shots you get out of an 85cc air tank, doubted the Youtube poster and had to eat a little crow.  I wonder if it could be tuned to flatten the shot curve a bit.

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    Pope_on_Dope
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    Dan, as I mentioned above, their is a way to get a flatter shot curve but this involves turning the power down significantly which also reduces efficiency (the shotcount stays the same). With that sub 12 fpe transfer port, you spread is only about 30 fps because the airflow is getting choked and that results in more or less the same power for every shot as the rest of the air from every shot is probably released when the pellet already exited the barrel (and therewith wasted). The only other option is a regulator but I doubt that it would be possible to fit one in there so its not a viable option. The action (hammer) is sitting directly in the back of the air reservoir. I didn´t examine if there is a possibility of unscrewing the back side but I really doubt there is. 

    I do only have the sub 12 fpe transfer port and the high power one but it would certainly be interesting to make an intermediate one that still chokes the airflow for the higher powered shots but doesn´t affect the first low powered ones too much. This would probably result in a flatter shot curve and compromise a bit on energy. Lets say you find the right size for the air transfer port with 0.10″ or so and get the rifle to shoot at 700 fps. the spread would probably be 670 – 740 or something like that and the energy would average somewhere around 17 – 18 fpe. 

    Anyway, for backyard pest control, a sub 12 fpe rifle is more than enough but for the distances of back yard shooting you also don´t really need a narrower spred. The POI shift will be bearable up to about 25 yards. 

    What I do with unregulated rifles is that I simply make a diagram of pellet impact point at various distances over the useable fill and when I´m down from 200 to 150 bar I know the rifle will fire faster so I compensate for that by holding over/under. 

    This rifle certainly isn´t the best choice for field target or benchrest shooting but it makes a really good hunter and plinker.

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    glengiles
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    Looking forward to checking that gun out Blackdiesel!

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