by B.B. Pelletier
Big series coming!
Starting a HUGE series for you today – a new and significantly different model line from Evanix with the ability to fire double-action as fast as you can work the trigger and more shots than we’re used to. This first standard rifle I will review is called the Renegade. Before we get to the juicy details, though, you need to know the history of the AR6 in America to appreciate how far it’s come, because the AR6 is the ancestor of all current Evanix models.
Brief history of the AR6
Back in the very early 1990s, when modern smallbore precharged pneumatics were just over one decade old, Davis Schwesinger of Air Rifle Specialists began importing the AR6 rifle from Korea. At that time, the ARS-6, as it was known, was unlike any PCP we’d ever seen in this country. For starters, you filled it by pressing the whole rifle straight down on a needle fixture attached to a horizontal scuba tank. The needle pushed into a valve on the end of the rifle’s reservoir and filled the rifle in three seconds. In doing so, the reservoir became very hot, and American shooters complained that the internal seals and o-rings were being overheated. The Koreans responded by changing the fill port to a simple screw thread that accepted an adapter coupling.
American dealer invented the quick-disconnect probe
That threaded coupling lasted for a couple years, but in 1996 Davis got them to change again to a quick-disconnect fill probe he invented. That probe is still being used to fill all Korean rifles today and spills over to some models from the UK. As novel as it was, that probe wasn’t the biggest feature these repeating rifles had.
They were the power kings!
These were also the most powerful smallbore air rifles of their time. They shot heavy .22 caliber pellets at anywhere from 50 to 80 foot-pounds, completely overshadowing all other smallbore air rifles of the time. Not until the AirForce Condor hit the market in 2004 did the Korean guns have any competition.
With that power came accuracy. Using heavy Korean pellets, 1″ 5-shot groups at 50 yards were possible. This gave hunters the equivalent power and accuracy of a .22 short cartridge with much greater safety, and they soon began taking larger game than airgunners had ever imagined. Coyotes were the No. 1 Western fare and javelinas, the so-called Weber pigs (one fits nicely on a Weber barbecue grill with the cover on), became the target of choice for those in the Southwest.
Designed to be double-action
Back in those early days, there was an airgun magazine called U.S. Airgun, and they examined the ARS-6 frequently. It was on those pages that many of us discovered that this rifle is actually a double-action revolver. Theoretically, it was possible to fire all six shots by pulling the trigger rapidly instead of cocking the hammer for every shot. I say theoretically, because the double-action trigger-pull of that early gun was as much as 25 lbs.! No rifleman alive can squeeze off six fast shots while fighting that kind of resistance. So, the design was there but it wasn’t possible to use.
I remember reading in U.S. Airgun how a fellow came up with a trigger tune that reduced the double-action pull as low as 18 lbs. There was rejoicing and dancing in the streets for that tune, but in the real world nothing changed, because even an 18-lb. trigger-pull isn’t easy.
Over the years, the AR6 continued to evolve. That trigger tune was built into the rifle, but as mentioned, nothing changed as far as the user was concerned. The company changed hands in the new millennium, and they started modernizing their stocks from classic Asian to a more European look.
The rise of Evanix
They became Evanix and forged a relationship with Pyramyd Air as their exclusive U.S. distributor. New design ideas started going back and forth between the U.S. and Korea. Evanix was eager to deliver what the customer wanted because their annual sales numbers under Pyramyd Air were many times greater than they had been with all the other U.S. airgun dealers operating independently. Which brings us to the Renegade.
While all AR6 rifles have always been and continue to be double-action, they are not and cannot actually be used that way because of the extreme pressure required from the trigger. In fact, under Evanix management, shooters have been warned not to fire their rifles double-action because it’ll damage some of the internal trigger parts.
Here comes the Renegade
The new Renegade changes that. It’s designed from the ground up to be operated in either the single-action or double-action mode. You can’t tell by looking at the new rifle; but, to anyone with AR6 experience, all it takes is one pull of the redesigned trigger to convince them that this is all new.
Instantly selectable power
This new trigger makes it possible for the Renegade to have two different levels of power. If you cock the hammer before shooting, you’re on high power. If you fire double-action by just squeezing the trigger, you’re on low power. Low power doesn’t mean weak, however, and I will, of course, report exactly what these power levels are.
Rifle must be charged for the trigger to work
One interesting fact cropped up in my first test. The rifle must have air pressure in the reservoir for the trigger to function in the double-action mode. I tried it out of the box with no air in the reservoir and the trigger only worked once, then it remained in the pulled position. However, after filling the gun, it works perfectly.
The 6-shot pellet cylinder is removed from the rifle by pushing it to the right with a thumb. On a new rifle, it takes quite a push; after removing it a few times, it gets easier.
Pellets are loaded base-first from the front of the cylinder, typical of all Korean 6-shot repeaters. They come to rest against a small shoulder located at the rear of each chamber. There’s plenty of room to load even heavy Eun Jin pellets, though I think a Beeman Kodiak is more appropriate for the power this rifle offers.
Enhanced performance from a brand-new valve!
I see a lot of airguns in my business, and it isn’t often that I see something that’s really new; but, the valve on this Renegade is something I’ve never seen before. Most PCP rifles will function within an 800 psi pressure band. A 3,000 psi gun will shoot well until the pressure drops to 2,200 psi, then the power drops off rapidly. A very few rifles will stretch that band to 1,000 psi. Well, the Renegade rifle I’m testing works well throughout a full 1,500 psi pressure band! What that means is you get many more useful shots per fill. How many depends on whether you shoot with full power (single-action) or reduced power (double-action). In the next report, we’ll see exactly what those numbers are.
Those of you who’re looking for a powerful precharged hunting air rifle, follow this report carefully. I think we have something special here!