Norica Goliath 88 Classic Carbine - Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
When I visited Pyramyd Air's garage sale in May of this year, just prior to their recent move, I was shown a pile of Norica spring guns and asked to comment on each of them. Pyramyd owner, Joshua Ungier kept handing me guns to take to the indoor range and try out. The one he was most excited about is today's rifle, the Norica Goliath 88 Classic Carbine. When he showed me that it came in a double-locked hard case and looked like a tactical black rifle, I knew why he was excited. I've been sitting on this rifle since June, waiting for Pyramyd's orders to come in, and now that the time draws near, it's time to get started with the reports.
The Goliath (I'm shortening the name to save keystrokes) is a conventional breakbarrel spring rifle encased in a dark gray tactical stock. It's short, at only 33.5 inches long, but the weight of 6.25 lbs. seems heavy in such a small package. The buttpad extends by pressing a button on the right side of the stock, making the length of pull adjustable to three distinct lengths--14-5/8", 16" and 17-1/2" fully extended. A normal adult pull length is about 14.5", so this is a small gun sized for big shooters.
The stock is synthetic, and indeed the only external parts that are metal are the barrel and the safety switch. There are no sights, so the dot sight included in the combo package is necessary. The carry handle does not detach from the stock and it has a Picatinny rail on top--so Weaver bases will be required. I think the red dot sight compliments the look of the rifle, but I wasn't sent one, so I opted to mount a scope, instead. More on that in the accuracy report.
Also mounted to the stock when you get the gun are two auxiliary rails--one on either side of the forearm. So you can mount flashlights, lasers, rangefinders, night sights or whatever extra accessory you like and not impede the scope or dot sight.
It's a bullpup
What's a bullpup, you ask? A bullpup rifle is one that has been shortened by running the action back into the buttstock. In the case of the Goliath, that means pushing the spring tube back into the butt. That makes the overall length much shorter and gives a cool, compact look to the rifle..
The problem with bullpups is their triggers. To put the trigger blade in a place the shooter will naturally grasp, it has to be moved forward of the place where the sear resides. A link is then needed to connect the trigger blade to the sear, and that link can cause a reduction in the crispness of the trigger. I'm not saying what the Goliath's trigger is like--yet. I'll reserve those comments for the second report. This trigger has a single adjustment screw that controls the length of the stage-two pull.
The power claimed for the Goliath is astonishing, to say the least. Looking at the rifle, you get the feeling that the gun was made from a youth model, but when you cock it, the 34 lbs. of force required snaps you back into perspective. This may be a short gun, but it's no youth model. This one is for adults, and for those who don't mind a hard-cocking rifle! I say that because the two short pieces of the gun you grab to cock it when the barrel is broken open don't provide the same leverage found on a conventional rifle like the Crosman NPSS or Beeman R1. You'll think this is harder to cock than it really is. We'll see what the power is in the next report.
The two-piece articulated cocking link plus the barrel come back very far when the rifle is cocked. The barrel is 14 inches long, but is augmented by a soft plastic muzzlebrake. You'll have to treat this brake with care because it doesn't look that strong. The safety is automatic, but there's no beartrap device, so the rifle can be uncocked without firing. You can apply the safety at any time. The detent is a ball bearing that is the hardest ball-type to open I've ever seen. You have to slap the muzzle to open the barrel for cocking, which bodes well for the conservation of air during firing.
The rifle is completely ambidextrous. Nothing favors one side over the other.
I know you want to know everything about this new airgun, and I'm about out of things to show you in this report, but for us all I took a couple shots--in addition to the shots I had taken back in May when I saw the gun in Cleveland. The gun seems powerful and quick. And the vibration isn't too bad. But she recoils more than you might think.
I don't usually comment on the box guns come in, but this one is the exception. How about a dedicated hard case with TWO resettable combination locks? Pretty neat!
I already told one reader that the Norica guns have a high level of build quality, and that observation extends to the Goliath. More after I test her for velocity.