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Sumatra, a Powerful Lever-Action Rifle(June 2003)

The Sumatra Carbine
A lot of performance in a small package
 or  Sumatra
A powerful lever-action repeater

By Tom Gaylord
exclusively for © Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved

The Sumatra 2500 is a powerful precharged air rifle. It has the power and long-range accuracy needed for hunting

The Sumatra is a powerful lever-action six-shot precharged pneumatic repeating air rifle. It weighs about 7.5 lbs., despite looking heavier. The two tubes under the barrel are the air reservoirs, and they hold enough for about 30 good shots. To get that many, I shoot on low power, plus I accept a broader velocity spread than most shooters prefer. If you want the highest-power shots only, there are about 10 full-power shots in the gun, and each one decreases in velocity from the one before.

There is a power-adjustment wheel under the receiver. Curiously, the wheel is marked backwards and what looks like the high setting is actually the low.

Hunters need power and the Sumatra lever-action has plenty. In my test, it averaged 61.73 foot-pounds for the first 10 shots! The first shot on high power was 1,007 f.p.s. with a 29.6-grain pellet. Shot 10 was 926, for an average of 967 f.p.s. That's enough power to drop a large woodchuck at 75 yards if the shot is well placed. Certainly, everything smaller is fair game out to this distance.

On low power, shot one went 804 and shot 10 went 772. The average was 779 f.p.s. That works out to 39.90 foot-pounds on low power with heavy Korean domes, which is still plenty of hunting power. This rifle is more powerful on low power than 98 percent of all air rifles available today.

I tested the rifle with several brands of pellets, only to discover that it has a decided preference for pellets with large flared skirts. A shelf at the back of the six-shot cylinder squeezes the skirts down to size and holds the pellets tight in the cylinder. Some pellets can be loaded from the front of the cylinder, but they will be loose; and, in my experience, they aren't as accurate as those inserted from the back.

The lever is relatively hard to work, as the rifle has a powerful mainspring to cock as well as a cylinder to advance and a pellet to seat in the rifling. When the lever is returned to its closed position, a loading probe goes through the chamber in line with the barrel and pushes the pellet straight into the rifling. If the pellet has been loaded from the rear of the cylinder, as described above, it is sized correctly and there is little resistance to entering the rifling. If loaded from the front, you will feel some resistance when closing the lever.

With the cylinder removed, you can see the bolt that pushes the bottom pellet into the breech when the lever is closed. The silver button above the bolt is a spring-loaded plug that helps align the cylinder.
The cylinder is held in the action by ball bearings in the front and back and by the loading probe when the lever is against the rifle. To remove the cylinder, the lever must be opened fully, which also cocks the gun. The safety, located behind the trigger, must also be applied at this time. When this is done, push the cylinder to one side or the other and it will come out of the receiver.

The pellets on the left have not been seated. Until this is done, as the cylinder on the right demonstrates, it is impossible to insert the cylinder in the rifle's breech.
Use heavy pellets to balance the rifle's great power. The skirts should not go into the cylinder all the way because of the restriction in each chamber. Push each pellet the remainder of the way with a seater of some kind. I used the round nose of a CO2 powerlet and pushed down till the pellet skirt was flush with the back of the cylinder.

Load the magazine by pushing it back into the receiver the same way it came out. Then, lower the lever to the closed position, take off the safety and the rifle is ready to fire.

The trigger is a sporting trigger. It's single-stage and fairly heavy, but the creep is not bad. There is some recoil, so a neutral hold is best for top accuracy. My best group was close to an inch at 50 yards, with the remainder averaging 1.5" to 2".

The power wheel at the left is on the bottom of the receiver. For maximum power, turn the dial toward the SMALLEST colored circle. The pressure gauge, at right, shows how much air remains in the gun. Though the green portion of the gauge is supposed to be good, this test showed it was a little optimistic.
The rifle comes with a pressure gauge built into the forearm. I found the green section of the gauge a bit optimistic, as the needle remained in the green after power had dropped below a good performance level. So, counting shots proved to be better for power management than watching the gauge.

The rifle is filled with a quick-disconnect probe inserted into a cap under the muzzle. The cap rotates to cover the fill port between fills and keeps dirt out of the reservoir.

The fill port accepts the quick-fill probe that comes with the rifle. A rotating cap keeps dirt from entering when the port is not in use.
Although I tested the rifle with a six-power Leaper's compact scope, the standard iron sights are quite interesting. In the rear, there is a two-hole aperture that flips up and down to give a large or small hole. A magnet holds the element in place. The rear sight is adjustable for windage.

The front post is adjustable for elevation via a small wheel at the base. If you do adjust it, remember that the front sight should be moved opposite the way you want the pellet to move.

The rear sight has two different apertures. A magnet holds it in place.

The front sight adjusts for elevation via a small wheel at the base. Move the front sight in the direction OPPOSITE the way you want to move the pellet.

At 50 yards on a calm day, five heavy Korean dome pellets went into this group, which is better than a lot of .22-rimfire rifles. Group measures 1.261" across the widest dimension, which works out to a 1.041" group, center-to-center.
The Sumatra falls into the same class as the Sam Yang and the Career 707(previously known as RWS CA 707). While it is not quite as refined as the Career as it comes from the factory, it looks like the basis for a wonderful hunting air rifle. The accuracy and power certainly warrant using it for that.

As for the muzzle report, I observed that the Sumatra is louder on high power than a standard-speed .22 long rifle cartridge shot from a 24" barrel and quieter on low power than the same rimfire rifle and cartridge. It's more accurate than many .22 rimfire rifles out to 50 yards.

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