by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

The Norica Young air rifles went on sale yesterday morning. There are just a handful of them, so act quickly if you want one. I’m not endorsing the rifle, because I’ve never tested one. All I can tell you is that Norica is a good maker, and the price for this gun is very low. They are new-old-stock, so expect some discoloration and possibly handling marks. Some will have boxes while others don’t.

A reader asked whether the Ruger logo appears on the rifle. Here it is.

On to today’s report, where I test the Ruger Air Hawk Elite for accuracy. You may remember that the 11mm dovetail scope rail grooves have no provision for a scope stop. Readers have suggested I use BKL scope mounts that hold by clamping pressure, alone, or put valve grinding compound on the dovetails to seize the scope ring clamps (not a bad idea!) or that I just back the scope mount bases up to the rear of the dovetails, where they’ll bottom out at the end of the cuts.

I’ve decided on a slightly different method, and we’ll see how successful it is. I put the rear ring at the end of the 11mm dovetail, where it stopped, then I added a separate scope stop behind the front ring for added resistance. The AirHawk Elite has a pretty hefty kick for a lighter rifle, so these two measures will be tested well.

The rear ring is backed up in the dovetail as far as it will go.

A separate scope stop is anchored behind the front ring.

I sighted-in the rifle and shot all groups at 21 yards indoors. It was windy outside, and this was a way to move the test along.

The test pellets
Not one of the pellets used for the velocity test proved accurate in this rifle. RWS Hobbys shot 1.5″ groups, as did Beeman Kodiaks. Gamo Raptors turned in the largest group of the day. Five of them stumbled through the target with a spacing of 1.912″ between the centers of the two farthest apart. Not a pellet to pick for this rifle! Beeman Trophy pellets did better, but still weren’t good enough.

Five RWS Hobbys went into this 1.438″ group at 21 yards. This is representative of both Hobbys and Kodiaks in this rifle. Note that all four shots in the white have tipped a bit, indicating they are not stable.

Five Raptors wandered through the target in this loose 1.912″ formation. Like herding cats!

Here are six Beeman Trophy pellets. They’re better than the others, but still not good. This group measures 0.946″.

Then I tried JSB Exacts
I’m sorry to always do this to you, but it’s the truth. JSB Exact 10.2-grain pellets are often the best in most guns. When they aren’t, try Crosman Premiers and Beeman Kodiaks. But this time the JSBs won hands-down.

Five JSB Exact domes made this pretty little group. It measures 0.330″.

I shot this one for the guy who wanted me to shoot more groups with the Walther Falcon Hunter last week, after I said I knew it could shoot. I knew this Ruger could shoot, too, and here’s the proof. A second group measuring 0.330″. It only looks larger because of the way the paper tore.

I’m not done with this one yet
Normally, I’d finish here, but I want to visit this rifle one more time. The way it vibrates with every shot, it loosens the stock screws and the muzzlebrake screws. I had to tighten the muzzlebrake twice during this report. I can live with that, but the trigger I want to examine in more detail. As is, the pull is far too long and the release feels indefinite. I’d like to see what, if anything, can be done.