by B.B. Pelletier
Air Arms S400 MPR FT alert!
Before I start today’s report, I want to make an update to the Air Arms S400 MPR FT blog. Blog reader “coax” asked me to adjust the air transfer port screw to see if I could increase the power of the rifle. Following his instruction to locate that screw, I removed the action from the stock, but I cannot locate the screw he mentions. He says it is located below the loading trough, which I took to mean underneath the loading trough (the bottom of the action) at the rear of the reservoir. Well, there’s nothing to see on the reservoir itself, but on the action just behind the reservoir there is a threaded hole like he describes. The problem is that there is no screw inside that threaded hole. And that is the only threaded hole that I can see.
So there isn’t going to be any power adjustment report on this rifle. If coax wants to send me photos of exactly what he’s referencing, I will look again, but otherwise, the report is completed.
The Air Arms Twice precharged pneumatic air rifle is a dual-reservoir rifle with the air cylinders arranged side-by-side. The rifle has a rollover raised cheekpiece, so it is reasonably ambidextrous, though the bolt stays on the right side.
What is a Twice?
Now, on to today’s report. The Air Arms Twice PCP air rifle will certainly never win any awards for the name! Why they didn’t call it the Double-Up or something — anything — but Twice is beyond me. However, in the spirit of Shakespeare who said, “A rose, by any other name…” we will proceed. (I haven’t forgotten that Pyramyd Air took a survey about other names. Maybe they’ll christen it something else in the near future.)
The name Twice refers to the twin reservoir tubes under the barrel. Obviously, they increase the amount of compressed air the rifle can hold, yet by their design, the rifle is not made substantially taller. Wider, yes, but in the same sense that a double-barreled shotgun is wide. It’s width with elegance.
And, I’m testing serial number 098425, for those who are keeping score. The rifle came to me with a Bushnell Banner 6-18x50AO scope mounted on it. While that’s a good, useable scope, it doesn’t do justice to a premium PCP rifle like the Twice. Since I have the Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14x42AO Tactical Sidewinder rifle scope on hand, I switched it for the Bushnell. Why not? After all, one doesn’t buy a Ferrari and then fill the tank with 87 octane fuel! A premium rifle deserves a premium scope.
It is a big air rifle!
Let me get this out of the way; because when these rifles start selling, you’re going to read about it on the forums. The Twice is a very large air rifle. Those twin reservoir tubes make it a real handful and that’s that. Also the barrel’s shrouded, which adds to the look of massiveness. The rifle isn’t heavy, at 7.50 lbs., but it is muzzle-heavy. I know there are those who think a muzzle-heavy rifle is a bad thing, but it isn’t if you want to hit things! The extra weight out toward the muzzle slows down the tendency all rifles have to wobble. The Twice hangs right in your hands if you put your off hand just forward of the trigger. My Ballard is very muzzle-heavy, and it doesn’t seem to suffer any.
Of course, this is also a repeater. It features a 10-round magazine that loads the next pellet every time the sidelever pulls the bolt to the rear and shoves it forward again. Having used Air Arms repeaters in the past, I believe this one will be butter-smooth to cock and shoot. I’ll let you know when I test it.
There’s a power-adjustment control on the right side of the receiver, with an index scale on the left side. I will test that function and report my findings during the velocity test.
Here you see the sidelever that operates the bolt. Just in front of the lever handle is the silver power adjustment knob. A scale on the other side of the rifle tells you where the power has been set.
The specs say the Twice is a 20 foot-pound rifle in .177 caliber. Because it’s a pneumatic, it’ll develop the most power with the heaviest pellets…and I’ll be testing it that way. That’s the only way it’ll be the most accurate at long range.
The Twice also will be available in .22 caliber, which I think would be the caliber of choice for a gun in this power range. They rate it at 30 foot-pounds in .22 caliber, and that’s about what I would have guessed. There are so many wonderful new heavyweight pellets in .22 caliber that I would think an owner would want to test them all.
The specs also say you get 180 shots on low power and 60 on high. Unfortunately, a .22 caliber pneumatic will always be more efficient with air than a .177. That number was probably gotten with the larger caliber, but I’ll purposely test this .177 gun at both ends of the power spectrum for you.
The woodwork is nice, but it’s different than the classic look of the TX 200. Only the grip is checkered and the diamonds are sharp, laser-cut and very crisp. The Air Arms logo is also cut into the grip. The butt is scalloped below the cheekpiece on both sides for weight reduction, I presume. That lightens the rifle but increases the muzzle-heaviness.
The stock is finished evenly in a medium brown stain. The reservoir tubes are finished matte, and the shroud is a matching matte finish. The overall look screams “Hunter,” so that’s what I believe the rifle was made to do. With all that air on board, we should see a good shot string at all power levels.
The rifle is an FAC type. FAC stands for Firearm Certificate, which owners will need to own this airgun in the United Kingdom. Once a rifle has been designated FAC, it can never be downgraded to a legal air rifle again, so this will always be an FAC rifle. Because getting an FAC can be quite difficult in the UK, that means the Twice was created for the U.S. market, primarily, because we don’t have the same power restrictions the UK has, except for a couple of states. The United States is also starting to embrace airgun hunting, so I think Air Arms is testing the waters to see if the market is there for them. Certainly, they’ve seen the success of all the AirForce, Beeman, Benjamin, Daystate, Evanix and Weihrauch precharged rifles over here and want to get in on the market. It’ll be interesting to see if the U.S. hunting market can sustain a $1,360 PCP in the face of all the other guns that currently exist. If the Twice can deliver on the promise of power, accuracy, power adjustment and a long shot string, it just might be the best new gun in town. We shall see.