- Career III 300, a powerful, accurate precharged rifle
Career III 300, a powerful, accurate precharged rifle
By Tom Gaylord
exclusively for PyramydAir.com. © Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved
The Career II 707 has dominated the world stage for eight years as an accurate, powerful hunting air rifle. In that time it was imported by many different dealers, with the last being RWS, who called the rifle the CA 707. For 2003, importation and distribution of the entire Career line has been taken over by Pyramyd Air, and there is a new Career in town. It's the Career III 300, and it looks very different than its predecessor.
The new Career III 300
is a striking precharged air rifle. Finely blued steel contrasts against a dark silver receiver and a medium brown Indonesian walnut stock. This is a very different rifle than the Career II 707
that preceded it. The lines are straighter and more traditional-looking. The Leapers compact scope
and B-Square mounts are both options available from Pyramyd Air.
The new rifle sits in a one-piece walnut stock that features very straight lines. The receiver is less sleek and more slabsided than the one on the old Career II, plus it houses a six-shot revolving cylinder rather than a linear magazine. The advantage of that is the ability to feed pellets of every nose shape and length without a problem.
The underlever of the Career II has been replaced by a sidelever that offers more mechanical advantage to cock a powerful mainspring at the cost of being somewhat hard to grasp. To cock the rifle, pull the lever all the way back. That advances the revolving cylinder to the next chamber. Pushing the lever against the receiver again causes the bolt to push the next pellet from the cylinder into the rear of the barrel for better accuracy.
The straighter stock brings the shooter's eye up to a higher line than the Career II, making the new rifle much easier to shoot with a scope. And you will want to scope this rifle to fully realize the accuracy potential.
The rifle weighs 7-1/2 to 8 pounds depending on wood density. It measures 41 inches overall, with a surprisingly short pull of just under 12-3/4 inches. The muzzle is definitely heavy, which makes the gun feel steadier when shooting offhand. The receiver is not especially thin and it is also very tall, giving the rifle a feeling of more size than the dimensions would indicate.
Each rifle comes with two 6-shot cylinders, a manual, and an Allen wrench to adjust the trigger. You also get a pellet-seater that will not be needed.
The power adjustment wheel, located under the forearm, is just forward of the triggerguard. There are seven different levels of power. The yellow air gauge tells the shooter just how much air remains in the reservoir. That's the sidelever that you see lying against the stock at the bottom of this picture. And, isn't the walnut pretty?
STRAIGHT TO THE RANGE
All testing for this report was done on a .20 caliber rifle. The performance figures are for that caliber alone. Pellet selection in .22 caliber is much greater, so heavier pellets that give greater energy may be found.
The best pellet for this rifle is a Korean dome that weighs 24.5 - 24.7 grains in .20 caliber. Pyramyd Air sent a tin of these pellets with the rifle and I advise you to get several tins when you buy the gun. On high power, they averaged 977 f.p.s. for the first 10 shots, which gives muzzle energy of 52.15 foot-pounds.
This pellet shot consistently less than one inch at 50 yards, with 0.676-inches being the best 5-shot group. Several groups were well under three-quarters of an inch at that distance, even on a day with winds gusting up over 20 m.p.h.
Beeman Kodiak pellets are heavyweights in both .177 and .22, but not in .20 caliber, where they weigh 13.5 - 13.7 grains. That makes them medium weight. Still, Kodiaks turned in an average velocity of 1,075 f.p.s. on high power (53.9 foot-pounds) in the test rifle and did deliver one 50-yard group measuring just 0.753-inches. I had to wait for the wind to die before shooting them and I suspect they might do better on low power where they are not so close to the sound barrier. Most groups, though, hovered between 1.5 and 2 inches at 50 yards.
The test rifle performed not only best but also most consistently with heavyweight Korean domed pellets supplied by Pyramyd Air. These are made from pure lead, so performance on game will be better than with harder alloy pellets like Premiers. With a rifle this powerful and accurate, I think it's wisest to stick to one pellet so you can learn your rifle's performance characteristics-especially at the different power settings.
Five Korean domed pellets at 50 yards went into this group that measures 0.697-inch, between the centers of the two holes farthest apart. This is an average group with these pellets on a windy day. The best group was 0.676-inch between centers, rivaling the best group from an accurized Ruger 10/22 shooting on the range that day.
The Career III has open sights that are fully adjustable and fine for general shooting. A detachable scope rail attaches to the top of the receiver with three screws, allowing the use of scopes with 11 mm dovetail bases. Because there is almost no recoil, a recoil stop is not needed.
Once the open sights had been tested, I mounted a Leaper's 6-power compact scope with parallax adjustment in B-Square Lynx steel rings. This combo is small and light and compliments the rifle well. All the accuracy testing was done with this scope.
The trigger is adjustable, so I adjusted it as light as it would go. That was a crisp two pounds with very little creep in the one and only stage.
The safety is a manual button in front of the trigger. Push it to the right to set it; to the left to release it. It is very stiff, but produces an audible click when it moves.
The six-shot cylinder is removed from the left side of the receiver. Note the spring that runs around the outside of the cylinder. It holds each pellet in place inside the cylinder, making it unnecessary to use a pellet-seater. The button hanging down in front of the trigger is the safety, which is pushed from side to side. Pyramyd Air also carries the Leapers compact scope
that looks really nice on this rifle.
For best accuracy, the Career's bolt pushes the pellet from the revolving cylinder directly into the rifling. The cylinder is aligned by two spring-loaded ball bearings located on either end of the cylinder and is locked in firing position by a third bearing.
One feature I found especially nice was the spring around the cylinder. It holds all the pellets in place until the bolt pushes them into the barrel. This makes loading the cylinder a breeze, because there is almost no resistance when the pellet is inserted into the chamber.
$500 FOR A PELLET RIFLE?
The day I was on the range, the man next to me shot a newly accurized Ruger 10/22. Now an accurized 10/22 is certainly no slouch, but his $700 custom rifle, shooting target ammo costing $10 for 50 rounds, was no more accurate than my Career III, costing hundreds less! That is why you spend $500 for a pellet rifle-because there aren't many rimfire rifles that can equal it at the price.
Here is what you get with this air rifle-you get power that's almost that of a .22 short rimfire cartridge. You get accuracy equal to a custom .22 target rifle. Your shots are powered by air which is either free for those who use the hand pump or very inexpensive for those who use a scuba tank. Your big cost is pellets.
On the other hand, the Career III is almost as loud as a .22 rimfire. Some air rifles are very quiet and can be shot in a small urban yard without disturbing the neighbors, but the more powerful rifles like this Career really need the same type of range setting as a rimfire. On the other hand, a diabolo pellet cannot travel as far as a solid bullet, so the downrange safety distance is around 500 yards, instead of 2,000 yards for the rimfire. That means this is a much safer small-game hunting rifle. It has the power and accuracy needed at close range, yet the bullet doesn't carry far after the target.