by B.B. Pelletier

The Hunting Master AR6 is a much-refined version of the rifle that started the influx of Korean PCP rifles in this country in the 1990s.

One sharp-eyed reader spotted this new Hunting Master AR6 on the Pyramyd website, and I had a chance to test one, so I thought I’d give you an advanced look at a fine new hunting rifle today.

The AR6 has been around a long time
This was the first Korean PCP imported into the U.S. Back in the early 1990s, a much rougher looking AR6 surprised Americans with unheard-of power and accuracy. At a time when British single-shot PCPs developed 20 foot-pounds and Sweden was still years in the future, the AR6 popped on the scene. It offered 50+ foot-pounds and 1″ groups at 50 yards. Overnight, American airgunsmiths began modifying this bag of raw potential.

The early rifles were very raw!
Early AR6s had the traditional Korean two-piece forearm and buttstock with the low comb that made scopes hard to use. The action was as rough as a goat-gnawed can, and the double-action trigger had a pull weight of 40 lbs.! So, the only practical way to shoot the early guns was to cock the hammer for each of the 6 shots.

Still, the early rifles were very accurate, and they had the power to stabilize heavier pellets than American hunters had ever used, plus they were the first PCP repeaters anyone had seen. The AR6 changed the face of airgun hunting in this country. When the Career 707 came along in 1995, it was smoother, even more powerful and had a lever action that could be slicked-up easier than the revolving mechanism of the AR6.

A lack of support killed the AR6
The AR6 was dropped by the larger airgun dealers, leaving sales to the smaller “hobby” dealers (people who are not serious dealers – they come and go overnight). Support for the guns vanished and so did sales, as rifles like the Career and Sam Yang made their grand entrances. By 1996, a few American airgunsmiths had slicked up the AR6 to fire double-action with just 18 lbs. of effort, but by then the days of the Hunting Master were over. I still see these older rifles changing hands for very little money.

This rifle is an entirely new, third-generation rifle. The manufacturer listened carefully to what Pyramyd Air told them American hunters want in an air rifle. It has a walnut stock that’s been correctly profiled for scope use. A large single-tube reservoir holds enough air for 20 full-power shots with heavy Korean pellets. The double-action trigger-pull is down around 12-14 lbs., which is actually usable for the first time. The single-stage, single-action pull is a crisp 3 lbs. And the power and accuracy seem refined, making the new AR6 an affordable option to the more expensive British and Swedish repeaters.

On Monday, I’ll tell you some things I learned while shooting this new AR6. If you’re in the market for a hunting air rifle, put this one on your list.