Things I liked: Side Lever. Fun to shoot. High Velocity. Accurate in the limited firing I have done. The recoil aspect, is there really any recoil in an air rifle? I have the RWS 300R and there is no noticeable recoil. But, there is a jump. And this rifle compensates for this jump with remarkable efficiency. After firing this rifle for awhile, I switched to my RWS 45. The first shot startled me, I was surprised how much I jumped when I fired the RWS 45. Back to the RWS 54, the loading port was easy to place a pellet even for someone with large fingers such as myself. I always wanted a Side-lever, and this one fits the bill for a seemingly reliable and robust rifle. It's made in Germany, usually for me a sign of quality.
Things I would have changed: Everything. I am disappointed, with clarifications. The rifle, like myself, is large, but the gun seems to be larger still. I am 6'2" and 275 lbs, with hands proportionate for my size. Yet the rifle is almost more than I can comfortably handle. I would think that German Engineers could have made it more sleek. Oh, and the German Engineering part, I was surprised to see that the trigger moves as the action does. This places the trigger forward in the trigger guard and it moves rearward when fired. If in 1911, Colt was able to design a Semi-Automatic handgun with the trigger in front of the magazine and the sear in back of the magazine, I would think that in the 21st Century, RWS could design (or have designed) an Air Rifle with a stationary trigger capable of matching with a sliding action when the action is in its firing position. Combined with an overly thick wrist on the stock and the trigger is an uncomfortable reach. The trigger is synthetic, yet it is rounded in shape, seemingly made for ease of manufacture and not for performance. The trigger has creep while being pulled, but releases well without undue effort. The Stock has the appearance of being mechanically shaped, with the leading edge of the cheekpiece having a squared angle rather than a graceful curve. I am not pleased with the color of the stock, although it is uniformly applied and without flaw. The leading edge of the stock, underneath the barrel, seems to be pointlessly large, tapering at this point may have produced some elegance in the air rifle. The rear sight has a roll pin that falls out as the rifle is fired. Shame, shame, shame. The sight radius is too short. (I use open sights rather than a Scope). And, drum roll please, I am aghast at this one. My $631 RWS 54 (I bought an returned one for $540) uses a BARREL SLEEVE over an inner barrel. I never expected to see this. I would have imagined that the barrel was one piece as with almost all Air Rifles except some Daisy Models. This is actually repulsive to me. This rifle's accuracy is sensitive to the ammunition used. Good grouping with some, extremely bad and way off center (elevation and windage wise) with others. My RWS 45 fires the same ammo that shows the great variances in the RWS 54 without much difference in point of impact. Interesting. Oh, how about writing a user's manual that is actually for just this gun? Do I need information on Break Barrel Rifles and Side-Cocking Rifles, it is too much to ask for a simplified instruction manual for JUST THIS GUN?
What others should know: Considering a Christmas Present for a loved one? Although this is a nice rifle, consider the RWS 46 Stutzen, similar to the RWS 300R. The RWS 46 Stutzen is an underlever that has a loading port for placing the pellet. Seems more elegant than this rifle. So far, and this is my second big purchase with Pyramid Air Guns, everything has gone fine and the communications are excellent.
Things I liked: I like everything. I am a long time Air Gun user and have owned the Sheridan and Benjamin before. I also have the RWS 300R and RWS 52. The odd thing is that right out of the box, I am better able to hit my plinking target (Full size coffee can on a string, located over 110 feet from the firing point) with the Sheridan than the RWS Rifles. For reference, a .20 caliber pellet held at arms length entirely covers the can located downrange, despite being a large can, at the distance it appears quite small. The impact point was perfect, I had no reason to readjust the sights. I made sure that the Sheridan was still made in America before I purchased. Before I purchased, I thought the trigger guard was plastic, but it appears to be cast, perhaps aluminum. The trigger assembly is a drastic improvement over the Sheridans made 20 years ago. The trigger is a well formed apparently steel trigger (my RWS Rifles have plastic triggers, plastic trigger guards, and a plastic front sight). The safety has been updated to a cross bolt type, great improvement, as the old safety was too easy to bump to the firing position. I used one drop of PellGun Oil in the tube assembly, lubricated the pump assembly hinge points, and the receiver bolt as well. The gun performed excellently.
Things I would have changed: It appears that the Sheridan and Benjamin look the same. I wish there were cosmetic differences to motivate me to purchase the Benjamin as well. (The Sheridan and Benjamin formerly had different shaped stocks). Also, I wish the plastic grip over the front of the receiver was available, it cushions the hand as the gun is pumped. It was installed on all Sheridan Air Rifles from years ago.
What others should know: I prefer an Air Gun that can be ready at a moments notice, not one that I refill from a Scuba Tank or need to take a large CO2 Cylinder to my local compressed gas store to fill. The Sheridan fits the bill perfectly. Oh, worried about the multiple pumps necessary for each shot (I usually use 6 pumps or less)? Ever hear of exercise? I'm sure that the calories lost would benefit many of us after the Holidays. Also, improved muscle tone will likely result in the muscles required to pump the Air Gun. In a world of people who are increasingly not getting enough exercise, don't downplay the significance of multi-pump pneumatics. Use and enjoy.