by B.B. Pelletier
The Norica Young air rifles went on sale yesterday morning. There are just a handful of them, so act quickly if you want one. I’m not endorsing the rifle, because I’ve never tested one. All I can tell you is that Norica is a good maker, and the price for this gun is very low. They are new-old-stock, so expect some discoloration and possibly handling marks. Some will have boxes while others don’t.
On to today’s report, where I test the Ruger Air Hawk Elite for accuracy. You may remember that the 11mm dovetail scope rail grooves have no provision for a scope stop. Readers have suggested I use BKL scope mounts that hold by clamping pressure, alone, or put valve grinding compound on the dovetails to seize the scope ring clamps (not a bad idea!) or that I just back the scope mount bases up to the rear of the dovetails, where they’ll bottom out at the end of the cuts.
I’ve decided on a slightly different method, and we’ll see how successful it is. I put the rear ring at the end of the 11mm dovetail, where it stopped, then I added a separate scope stop behind the front ring for added resistance. The AirHawk Elite has a pretty hefty kick for a lighter rifle, so these two measures will be tested well.
I sighted-in the rifle and shot all groups at 21 yards indoors. It was windy outside, and this was a way to move the test along.
The test pellets
Not one of the pellets used for the velocity test proved accurate in this rifle. RWS Hobbys shot 1.5″ groups, as did Beeman Kodiaks. Gamo Raptors turned in the largest group of the day. Five of them stumbled through the target with a spacing of 1.912″ between the centers of the two farthest apart. Not a pellet to pick for this rifle! Beeman Trophy pellets did better, but still weren’t good enough.
Then I tried JSB Exacts
I’m sorry to always do this to you, but it’s the truth. JSB Exact 10.2-grain pellets are often the best in most guns. When they aren’t, try Crosman Premiers and Beeman Kodiaks. But this time the JSBs won hands-down.
I’m not done with this one yet
Normally, I’d finish here, but I want to visit this rifle one more time. The way it vibrates with every shot, it loosens the stock screws and the muzzlebrake screws. I had to tighten the muzzlebrake twice during this report. I can live with that, but the trigger I want to examine in more detail. As is, the pull is far too long and the release feels indefinite. I’d like to see what, if anything, can be done.