by B.B. Pelletier
Let’s look at some of the most powerful smallbore air rifles today. I’m talking about the big, powerful Korean repeaters.
In Korea, air rifles are serious business!
Koreans use them for hunting. Guns that are .22 and .25 caliber are stored most of the year in the local police station. A hunter can take his rifle out for hunting purposes. I’m not sure if that’s all they can do with them, but most of the time it is stored at the police station. The .177 and .20 caliber guns may be kept at home, as they’re not considered serious hunting guns. Get down on your knees and kiss the ground you’re standing on. It’s hallowed ground, and there is precious little of it remaining in the world!
The Air Rifle Specialists Hunting Master was first to be imported
The AR6, as it was known, was a six-shot revolver that fired either single-action by cocking the hammer or double-action by pulling the trigger. The trigger took 18 to 25 pounds to cycle, so it was actually a better single-action. It produced over 50 foot-pounds for many shots, and most shooters could shoot 1″ five-shot groups at 50 yards.
The Career 707 was No. 2 – but what a success!
Career 707s came over in lots of 50 starting in 1995, and I own one of the very first ones. They were raw and more powerful that any smallbore airguns we had ever seen. They originally had three power levels. Before the year was out, several airgunsmiths had modified them to have 12 and then 18 power levels! At 50 yards, I shot my first sub-inch group with my Career, using Crosman Premier pellets on low power (they still went 1,000 f.p.s.!).
Although the Career has a lever, the early ones were so hard to cock that they had to be cocked like a BB gun. Several hobbyists invented better triggers for them and the cocking effort became much easier. I can cock mine like Chuck Connors, The Rifleman.
The standard Career rifle was also sold as a carbine, but the Tanker Carbine is a different animal! It had a removable air reservoir. The thought was that shooters would buy extra reservoirs so they could carry a spare in the field.
The Career III 300 is a six-shot Career with a revolving cylinder instead of the linear magazine of the standard rifle. Where the linear magazine is best suited for domed pellets because they have to nestle in a straight line, the cylinder of the 300 accepts pellets of all shapes.
Sam Yang makes the Saver airguns
The Saver 7000 and Saver Carbine 505 are similar to the Career in that they feature in-line magazines, but they cock via a short lever on the right side of the receiver. Power is about the same as the Career, which is in excess of 50 foot-pounds for several shots.
Korea’s Eun Jin makes Sumatra airguns…
The Sumatra 2500 is very much like the Career 707 except that it’s a revolver. The lever is harder to cock because the hammer spring is very strong. A Sumatra 2500 Carbine is also available if you like shorter rifles.
…And they also make great pellets!
If you want to shoot diabolos, Eun Jin is the only pellet with 28 grains of weight in .22. Pyramyd Air produces its own brand of solid pellet called the Predator. Currently they are only available in 23 grain weights, but when production resumes, they will be made up to a 35-grain weight. These Korean rifles and the Condor from AirForce are the only air rifles powerful enough to use solid pellets, which must be fired very fast to stabilize.
The prices of these powerful rifles is far less than their quality, accuracy and power dictate. They’re loud and raw. If you want the most bang for your buck in a smallbore, these guns are the ones to get!