by B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll begin looking at a .177-caliber Air Venturi Avenger 1100 rifle. This is a breakbarrel spring piston rifle made by Mendoza. It’s a single-shot, and is one of the most powerful rifles Mendoza makes. The advertised velocity is 1030 f.p.s., which we’ll certainly test.
My test rifle has a different stock than the one shown on the website. Mine is plain instead of being checkered on both the grip and forearm, and the stain on my rifle is a lighter brown than you see here. My stock also lacks the sling swivel stud that appears in the photo on the toe of the butt. Other that that, the two rifles appear the same. The reason my rifle is different is because the new-style stock just came in recently, and the one I’m testing was ordered when Pyramyd Air had the plain stocks. I want to draw your attention to the shape of the stock at the cheekrest. The groove that is supposed to define the pistol grip is cut higher up on the cheekrest of this rifle. Also, the toe of the stock is swooped up instead of following the line of the stock bottom. It makes the butt appear very Bavarian. The wood appears to be beech with very little figure.
The stock is not ambidextrous, but the action is, and I don’t think left-handed shooters will find too much to complain about. The automatic safety has a switch on either side of the spring tube, so it’s equally convenient to shooters of either persuasion. And, being a breakbarrel, the breech is 100 percent symmetrical.
The rest of the features are typical of Mendoza rifles, like the two-bladed trigger, a deep blue finish on all the metal parts, an oil hole for the piston seal and fully adjustable fiberoptic sporting sights. A word about these sights is required. The rear notch is too narrow to show any daylight on either side of the front sight, so this is one rifle that demands you uses the red/green dots of the fiberoptic elements for sighting. I’ll mount a scope for the accuracy test, and the 11mm grooves on top of the receiver end in a stout plastic end cap that serves as a scope stop.
Mendoza ships all their rifles with a test group on the hang tag attached to the triggerguard. If the one on this rifle is any indication, I think we’re in for a treat. The couple times I function-fired the rifle to make sure it was ready to go, I noticed a shudder of vibration with each shot. It isn’t bad, but it’s noticeable. Also, the mainspring makes some noise as the rifle is cocked.
Whoever designs these rifles is an experienced shooter. I can tell that from the balance, which is decidedly muzzle-heavy. It holds very steady as a result and will do well off the hand in the artillery hold. The bottom of the forearm is wide and almost flat, which will also help a good rested hold.
This is a $150 breakbarrel with all the power anyone could expect to use. If it holds up to the advertised velocity claims and if the accuracy is anything close to the test target, this will be a best buy. Imagine knocking $50 off the price of an RWS Diana 34 Panther. This will be an exciting test!