Turning an AirForce Condor into a Talon SS

by B.B. Pelletier

This post was requested by Bill, but I think a lot of you will find it interesting. There’s a lot of interest in AirForce air rifles these days. Perhaps, that’s because they sell for half to two-thirds the price of a European PCP, yet they shoot just as well and have features no other airgun in the world can match. Among these features are interchangeable barrels that an owner can swap quickly. Therein lies today’s posting.

The Condor!
By now, every airgunner knows that the Condor is the world’s most powerful smallbore air rifle. It delivers 20-25 shots at greater than 60 foot-pounds when the heaviest pellets are used. Now, it is true that several of the Korean rifles, such as the Career 707, can get one or even two shots at that power level, but no other air rifle gets as many as a Condor. AirForce built the Condor to be a powerful hunting air rifle. Ah, but they also make the Talon SS, a quiet PCP that uses legal technology to muffle the muzzle report. And, that’s the problem! Wishful airgunners read the specifications of the two rifles and they want everything put into a single airgun! Quiet AND powerful – in one rifle! Well, you can’t have both at the same time, but it is possible to have both in one rifle.

Turning a Condor into a Talon SS – the secret that no one has told you!
The Condor and the Talon SS share a frame of identical length. The Condor frame has a longer scope rail, but that’s the only difference, and it has nothing to do with the power potential. The Condor is so loud (1) because of the tremendous amount of air that blasts out of the muzzle and (2) the fact that the muzzle is not hidden inside the frame like the Talon SS muzzle. There are aftermarket frame extenders that shroud the Condor’s longer barrel, but I have tested them and find no difference in the report. However, if you install a 12″ .22-caliber barrel, a Talon SS end cap and a standard air tank on a Condor, the rifle will then perform exactly the same as a Talon SS! Same velocity; same quite operation and the same accuracy. In other words, the extra power AirForce puts into the Condor powerplant is neutralized by the standard air tank!

That mean you can turn your Condor into a Talon SS with a 12″ barrel, an SS end cap and a standard air tank. Talon SS owners cannot do the reverse, because the standard powerplant is not strong enough to operate the Hi-Flo valve in the Condor tank. You’d wind up with a rifle that won’t go faster than 550 f.p.s. in .22. An SS owner can send his rifle to AirForce to have it converted to Condor specifications, and from that point the gun works in the way described above. Pyramyd Air can sell you the SS end cap, but there hasn’t been any demand for it before now, so they don’t have it listed as an optional part.

Best Talon version of all!
I don’t own a Condor, though I’ve certainly shot them. My personal AirForce rifle is a .22 caliber Talon SS. I also have an optional 24″ .22 caliber barrel. When I install it, my SS jumps from a maximum of 25 foot-pounds (that’s a 21-grain Kodiak at 732 f.p.s.) to 45 foot-pounds (a 28-grain Eun Jin at 850 f.p.s.) in five minutes – just by changing barrels! In my opinion, the Talon SS (or the regular Talon, because they both have the same powerplant) with a 24″ .22 caliber barrel is the best AirForce rifle of all. It has about double the shots of a Condor with two-thirds the power at the high end. It also adjusts LOWER on the low end, where it is also much more stable! That’s the 24″ barrel at work! I don’t need a Condor, because I don’t need those extra 20 foot-pounds. I have all the power I need in my SS with the 24″ barrel installed. Yes, it is louder at full power, but when I dial it back to the SS maximum of 25 foot-pounds, it isn’t much louder than my SS. In my opinion, the 24″ barrel on an SS is the way to go, but if I owned a Condor I’d buy the parts to convert it to an SS (12″ barrel, SS end cap and standard air tank).

What if I put the 12″ barrel and SS end cap on a Condor and left the Hi-Flo tank in place?
The folks at AirForce tell me they get this question about 10 times a week. People think they must have not thought about the possibility of a quieter Condor. The problem, of course, is that the power depends on the 24″ barrel. Without that, you’re just wasting air. What you get with that combination is the power of a regular Talon, but half as many shots. And, the gun is as loud as a regular Talon, too! If that’s what you want, save your money and buy a Talon.

How do you get the Condor’s power without the noise?
Legally? I don’t know. I have a .22 rimfire silencer that I’m going to adapt to a Condor to see if that works. But my silencer took longer than a year to get and cost more than $600, when all was said and done. As for the aftermarket extension tubes people are selling as barrel shrouds for the Condor, I can only comment on the ones I tried – they didn’t work. There may be some that do, but I’ve never seen them.

In a nutshell, there’s the untold story of Condor convertibility in a nutshell. The rifle is extremely flexible and this capability just adds to that range.

44 thoughts on “Turning an AirForce Condor into a Talon SS

  1. B.B.,

    Based on the lack of comments thus far, maybe I was the only one who did know this :-) but I doubt it.

    Thanks for the informative report. It helps with the decision of which AirForce rifle should be my first.

    Bill


  2. Bill

    Hop on over to here… http://www.talonownersgroup.com

    you’ll see people doing everything with AF guns from 9mm big bore kits to arrow shooting Talons.
    Lots and lots of info, be warned though that a lot of the stuff described will void the warranty. Sill, I own 3 Airforce guns and each is different and serve different purposes. Most of my mods are cosmetic and dont void anything, those that are performance related can be switched back readily.
    With the AF guns, BB did a good job of detailing what can be done within the limits of AF warranty, but there is a whole other world of things with aftermarket parts that can be done, even if its just accessories to dress up your gun.


  3. BB,
    I tried earlier today to reply but ran into a blog clog.
    I particularly resonate with today’s post. I think a lot of people have come to your conclusions since the only barrel that is back ordered at Pyramyd is the 24′, .22 cal one. I have been waiting for mine for what will soon become 2 months and if it gets pushed back farther again will probably cancel and start looking elsewhere for someone that still has it in stock. I suspect the lack of availability stems from the fact that the barrel is the only part of the gun that isn’t made in the US and importation has held it up.
    I can’t wait to try it out on the emerging raccoons in my neighborhood!
    I have several guns now but the Air Force Talon SS is by far my favorite.

    CWI


  4. CWI,

    I know those barrel backorders can really get you down. The 24-inch .22 barrel has been in short supply ever since the Condor came out. The folks at AirForce tell me they keep upping the number of barrels they order and the demand for them keeps outpacing their estimates.

    Hang in there,

    B.B.


  5. BB,

    Great post! I’m still debating wether to get the parts to convert my Condor to a Talon SS, or just buy a Talon SS. How quiet is the SS as compared to another PCP with a shrouded barrel?

    Jason



  6. BB,

    Have you ever heard anybody shoot a FX Cyclone with a shrouded barrel. If so, how does the noise compare to a Talon SS.

    Jason



  7. BB,

    No. I have only heard a Career Carbine. Oh well, thank you for trying to answer. I will have to get one, just to “hear” it! Any reason to get another toy. Haha.

    Jason


  8. Thank you BB for puting this up, I’ve been intersted in the SS for quiet awhile and hearing an opinion such as yours is greatly needed for such a complex rir rifle. In the end over a long weekend of waiting is going to be an SS in .22cal then I’ll get a 24 inch barrel later on, in the end if I am pretty good with a Gamo 1250 in .22cal at (sorry don’t laugh) at 30 yards then I’ll be better with the different if not less recoil of the SS. I’ve always loved longer shots and hopfully now I’ll reach a higher level of accuracy. I don’t want to make it sound like I cant squeeze more out the 1250 but I just love different air rifles and this next purchase will be the best choice thus far for me.

    thanks alot

    ROBERT


  9. I was wondering doesn’t it go against whats been said about shooting to fast isn’t really a good thing so why the comotion about the gamo raptors? if my shadow were to hit the 1200 or more fps mark how many shots would it take to break my shadow 1000 even if they were the most accurate pellet of all tested? If they’re so fast how light are they compared to other light pellets? and isn’t a shadow 1000 .177 considered a “magnum” air rifle so one would try to slow it down just alittle instead of going faster?

    Robert


  10. Robert,

    Yes, the Raptor goes too fast for accuracy. At least that’s what I saw in the CF-X test. But numbers sell, so expect to see them around for a long time.

    Regarding your SS purchase, it’s okay to have more than one airgun! No justification required.

    B.B.




  11. Hi, Its been very interesting reading these blogs, I am in the market for a new air rifle and would like to here a little more on keeping a condor quiet at full power. I own a beeman Kodiak .22 but its just to heavy and im looking foward to purchasing a PCP and thru my research a Talon ss or Condor will suit me fine. I would like to be able to use the full potential of the Condors power so I just need the best way to silence it.

    Thanks Joe joearnold60@yahoo.com


  12. Joe,

    A bloop tube is what a lot of people use. It’s a frame extension. It doesn’t makie the rifle completely quiet – maybe as noisy as a Talon.

    A legal .22 silencer migh work, too.

    B.B.


  13. B.B.

    Excellent article, I have a question for you.

    If I made the condor conversion with the 12″ barrel, the talon tank, and the end cap… I get the same velocity, accuracy and quite operation… but my question is : what about the numbers of shots by tank?… is the same that a real talon ?
    If is less than a real talon?
    how many shots more than a condor standard tank?

    And the other question is if the talon end cap only influence in the quite noise operation and not in the velocity and accuracy right?.

    thanks in advance for any help… and sorry my bad english


  14. deandondan,

    You will probably get almost the same number of shots with the rifle you describe, but because of the striker weight in the Condor, it won’t be as adjustable as a Talon SS. You’ll get maximum power on a very low setting.

    The SS gets 35-40 full-power shots per fill, while the Condor gets 20-25.

    B.B.



  15. B.B.,
    Could you clarify the number of shots if you install a 12″ .22-caliber barrel, a Talon SS end cap and a standard air tank on a Condor? 35-40 shots, 20-25 shots or something in between?

    Thanks in advance,

    Ben


  16. Ben,

    The length of the barrel does not change the performance of the valve. It does change the velocity of the gun, but the valve will still exhaust the same amount of air.

    I found I could get 30-40 good shots with the setup you describe. 40 if I was shooting at 25 yards or less. 30 if shooting farther.

    B.B.


  17. B.B.,
    Thanks for your reply. Correct me if I’m wrong, sounds like I can dial down the power on Condor to use less air, shoot shorter distance (just like an SS) and get more shots per fill. Could you confirm?

    Thanks in advance,

    Ben


  18. Ben,

    The standard tank with the Condor powerplant doesn’t have the same adjustability as with the regular SS powerplant. If you are wanting plenty of powerful shots I recommend getting an SS and a 24-inch optional barrel. Then you get everything but the extra 20 foot-pounds of the Condor. And 45 foot-pounds isn’t that bad.

    B.B.


  19. B.B.,

    Thanks for the suggestion. That’s probably what I end up doing. Just for my understanding, how do you compare the adjustability of a Condor plus a standard tank with an SS? By not as adjustable as an SS, do you mean the former cannot be adjusted down as much (percentage-wise) or the increament between max and min power is not as many or the intermediate adjustment is not linear, repeatable, etc.? Sorry to have so many question. I promise this is my last one.

    Thanks,

    Ben


  20. Ben,

    None of the AirForce power adjustments are linear – EVER!

    What I meant was the range of velocities is less with a Condor powerplant and a standard tank. The high is higher than the standard powerplant, and so is the low. And the range is narrower.

    B.B.


  21. B.B.,
    I still have a difficult time deciding which gun go buy. I need more help. On one hand, I want to adhere to your suggestion completely and buy an SS plus a 24” barrel. On the other, I’m tempted to buy a Condor plus a standard tank, 12” barrel and an SS end cap. I know the first option would give me a quite gun, more shots per fill at max power and high enough power with the 24” barrel. However the second option would give me a quite gun as well (with the 12” barrel and SS end cap), probably same number of shots per fill when the power is dialed down and muzzle velocity is the same, and of course the additional 20 ft-lb if really needed. One can never have too much power in hunting. I understand the slight limitation with power adjustment with Condor. But this comes with the territory to me. As long as Condor has as many working adjustment as the SS that are repeatable, I’d satisfied. So besides the price, two different tanks and narrower adjustment, I don’t really see other reasons not to buy the Condor option. Did I miss anything?

    Thanks in advance,

    Ben


  22. Ben,

    I think you have your heart set on a Condor. I have one and it’s a wonderful rifle. Get it!

    If I could just convince you to buy ONLY the Condor and shoot it before you buy those other items, I think you will be happier. You need to learn how to use the Condor first, before trying to optionize it into something else.

    A Condor set to low power is a quiet gun. Buy a bloop tube from Airhog and the noise will almost vanish. With that combination you’ll have everything you want, and you’ll save some money.

    B.B.


  23. B.B.,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I think I’ll get a Condor. By the way, how many shots per fill can I get with a Condor when the power is set at the lowest?

    Thanks,

    Ben



  24. With the availability of the Condor convertion kit (and individual parts too) from Airforce, I finally decided to start with an SS. This way I can always convert an SS to Condor for power and back to SS for everyday shooting. What a great system!

    Thanks,

    Ben


  25. Like alot of people, I am trying to decide which Airforce rifle I want to buy.
    Accuracy at about 30-45 yards is my top priority, with quiet operation as my next priority. I will be using it to shoot pigeons at about this range. They do not take a lot of power to take down so I am thinking .177.
    Does anyone know if a condor at its lowest power setting will be as quiet as a talon ss at its most powerful setting?
    Thanks,
    Steve


  26. Steve,

    It is a waste of potential power to get a Condor in .177. A Talon (not an SS) will work perfectly for you.

    But if you want to ultimate in quiet operation, get a Talon SS, get a 24″ .22 caliber optional barrel and from Airhog get a Talon SS/Condor bloop tube.

    The pigeons don’t stand a chance. You will shoot sub half-inch groups all day long at the range you are shooting.

    A Condor on its lowest power setting is about as loud as a Talon SS on high power, but the SS is more powerful. A Condor with a bloop tube set on power setting 4-6 is as quiet as an SS on full power, but has almost double the power of the SS.

    B.B.


  27. i've read all the comments from you and airforce about trying to modify a talon ss to semi condor type specs. but i have been performing extensive testing with all combinations/setups and agree with you except for one. i've found that not only with mine but on my friends ss's too that with the 12" barrell (.22 only) you can install the stricker weight and high flow tank from a condor(power setting 13)and achieve 1k + speeds and produce .25" to one hole groups at 40yds. they are a little louder than the stock ss but not much at all, and if you do the washer/o-ring trick inside you shroud its gets quieter than a stock ss. we get around 20 full power shots. this mod only works in .22 tho,nothing smaller, but i am about to try it in .25. the pellets we use are 16gr predators. i have killed birds and varmints out to 70+ yds. i've been using this setup for about 1.5 yrs now and still love it. nice accurate compact pwr house!



  28. B.B.,

    that is true, but i wanted to accomplish this without sacrificing any length or weight. plus these guns are so easy to work with, doesn't take much time at all.

    md308


  29. tachdriver says the condor is $500 POS. No shot group under about 11/2 inch at 60 feet, that is with a 6x24x50AO target scope. no hope for this rifle. Junk, worse yet its a U.S.A. junk,ashamed to say its from Texas.I got a chinese flea market rifle $ 20 that out shoots and outperforms the condor.



  30. Bobby Nations,

    no fair taking advantage. Tackdriver, you've posted your comment on a blog written 4 years ago. Very few people will see it other than a core of volunteers who monitor the blogs. This blog is written daily Monday to Friday and if you would like to hear some comments from others who have Airforce Rifles and perhaps get your Condor shooting the way it should, post your troubles there.

    The blog can be found at:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog

    If the Pyramydair website comes up instead, just click on "Blog". Be warned that there are a number of blogs there so scroll down to the end of the most recent blog to post on the most recent comment section.

    Fred PRoNJ


  31. Tackdriver,hopefully you will see this.It sounds like maybe you have combined a pellet and power level that just won't produce accurate results.Or maybe just a pellet that won't group in the Condor.Are your groups opening vertically,horizontally or random?
    It's a shame if you have given up…five minuites of conversation could probably have you shooting half inch groups at more than twice that distance.Lots of expertice here if you want help.


  32. Hello B.B.,

    This comment string is a bit old, but do you know if availability of the 24" .22 barrel is still limited?

    Thank you for the informative blog.

    Kenn Sq PA Talon SS


  33. Kenn,

    Pyramyd Air is currently out of stock on the 24-inch .22-caliber barrels. AirForce processes them a thousand at a time from Lothar Walther, so once they arrive things should be good for a while.

    B.B.




  34. This blog needs to be updated since the Talon SS now comes with the Sound Loc baffles. That adds another $75.00 to the conversion. By the time it's all said and done, it's not too far off to just buy a complete other gun.


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