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The Air Arms Shamal

by B.B. Pelletier


My .22-caliber Air Arms Shamal was a gorgeous air rifle. I don’t have a color picture to show, but the stock was a golden honey with darker brown figure. I thought enough of the gun to scope it with a Leupold Vari-X II E.F.R.

This report is dedicated to Kevin, who asked yesterday what the quietest .22 pellet rifle anyone’s ever heard. For me, it was my Shamal from Air Arms. I reported on that rifle in 1998 in Airgun Revue #2. That rifle wasn’t my first PCP rifle, but I did learn a lot from it. Please read the opening paragraph of that report:

“They wouldn’t bring out new models if they weren’t better than the older ones, would they?” Have you ever found yourself thinking this? Is a 10-meter rifle built a decade ago less accurate than one made today? Are modern precharged rifles better than the ones from the 1980s? These are some of questions we often ask ourselves; but, until recently, we really didn’t have a frame of reference from which to answer them.

The Shamal opened my eyes to what had been possible in the past. As I will show you, it was very accurate. But first, I want to address Kevin’s question about noise. That Shamal was the quietest airgun I had seen up to that time,

When I fired the gun, there was no muzzle report. In fact, read what I said about the sound it made:

Another surprise I got from this rifle is the strange “piano” sound the hammer spring makes when it fires. It sounds like someone smashing their hands down on a piano keyboard. Rodney told me this was characteristic of the Shamals, although not all of them exhibited it. Airgunsmiths used to weave fat rubber bands through the coils of the spring, or else they put rectangular foam in the center of the spring to stop the vibration. The noise is distracting, but the rifle’s exceptional accuracy convinces me to just live with it.

The Rodney I mentioned is the late Rodney Boyce, one of the grand old gentlemen of American field target and a great guy to know. That “piano” sound I was talking about was the sound of the hammer spring. I could only hear it because the rifle was so quiet. Do you recall me saying in the first report about the Marauder that it also has a musical pinging sound when it fires? Well, by that time, I’d heard many quiet PCPs, so this sound is no stranger; but when I had the Shamal, it was unfamiliar.

The Shamal was extremely accurate. In those days, I also didn’t have as much experience with accurate PCPs as I do today, but even today that rifle would be a keeper.


At 10 meters, five Crosman premiers went into a tight one-hole group.


At 20 yards, the group starts to open.


At 35 yards, the group is still opening, but not much.

So, the rifle was accurate to boot. Kind of like falling in love with a beautiful woman who can also cook! But wait–there’s more. Because, to continue the beautiful woman analogy one step farther, this rifle also taught me (as women often do) an important fact–that the number 3,000 isn’t magical!

When I got the rifle, it was used and there was no manual. Also, the standard working pressure was not stamped on the receiver the way it is on most PCPs today. I filled it to 3,000 psi because I was so used to that number. Little did I know my “beautiful woman” was about to give me an important lesson in airgun physics!

Determining the right fill pressure
The first shot was a .22-caliber Crosman Premier that registered 659 f.p.s. on my Oehler 35P chronograph. By that time, I’d already had an experience with a Daystate Huntsman that taught me what a gross overfill looks like. I can relate to all those Condor owners who freak out because their rifle doesn’t shoot its hardest at 3,000 psi! While 3,000 PSI may be very common, many British PCPs were filled to lower pressures back then.

Let me share the results of shooting the rifle:


See how long it takes for the velocity to climb up to the performance curve? And can you select a performance curve from these results?

We saw similar results from the Air Arms Alfa Competition pistol last week, didn’t we? Are you able to pick a performance curve from this set of numbers? It’s arbitrary, so there’s no wrong answer. You might select the first velocity of 767 f.p.s. (shot 38) and end at the final velocity of 773 f.p.s. (shot 64), which gives you a useful string of 27 shots. Or you might want to expand that to include the first shot of 751 f.p.s. (shot 29) and the final shot of 758 f.p.s. (shot 66). Your string would be larger, at 38 shots. It’s up to you and what you want the gun to do.

The ideal fill pressure for my Shamal turned out to be 2,600 psi–a far cry from 3,000 psi. And that taught me that you absolutely do not go by the numbers on the pressure gauge until you’ve checked them against the numbers on the chronograph.

What the Shamal DIDN’T have
There was no pressure gauge on the rifle. In those days, we simply counted out shots and listened to the muzzle blast to tell us when to refill the reservoir. With a quiet rifle like this, the muzzle blast wasn’t much help.

The Shamal didn’t have a shroud. It had a muzzle-mounted silencer that was marginal. But the valve was so well-balanced that the rifle was quiet just the same.

However, Kevin had originally asked for a .22 rifle that gets an average velocity of 900 f.p.s. with 16-grain pellets. That would be a 29 foot-pound gun. The Shamal was about a 20 foot-pound rifle, so it fell short of Kevin’s requirement. However, the performance in all ways was so remarkable that I could forgive any shortcoming.

Sadly, my Shamal went away. I know the man who owns it and he still treasures it to this day. If I still had it, I probably would not allow it to get away from me a second time. It was proof that you don’t always need a new air rifle to have a good one.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

51 thoughts on “The Air Arms Shamal”

  1. Good morning All..

    Sorry again for being a pain in the ass yesterday… it’s in my jeans..


    Thanks very much for this report, I’d heard people talk about this rifle, and had wondered about it.. I did see one go on the Yellow classified, and passed on it because I didn’t know about it..

    I won’t pass on the next one if it’s in decent shape!!

    Was that Air Arms entry to the US market.. they are a somewhat young company aren’t they?


  2. B.B.
    Is there a site you know of that shows all the Air Arms line from the start of their company?


    Wow, what a find! That guy lives in the right place and really knows how to look!!

    I always wanted to walk part of the trail the Lewis and Clark group walked.. Now I have a good reason to make a journey to the great plains.. not that the rifle was from that group.. but just the same, that’s a passion of mine.

    I’ve been to their rebuilt camp at the end of the trail.. that’s very cool.. and Seaside Or. is a great place to visit anyway..

    Thanks for that link..


  3. Wayne,
    Sounds like you went to the Field and Stream link and read their article, also. For those of you who haven’t look at the paragraph under the first picture for the blue “here”.

  4. B.B.,

    Thank you for the report.

    Wow is that a beautiful piece of wood on that gun! The Shamal must be a fairly rare gun. I can’t find any information in the current blue book on the Shamal.

    It isn’t a shroud or the “muzzle-mounted silencer that was marginal” that made the Shamal so quiet but the valve that was so well balanced. This is a new one on me. How does a well balanced valve make a gun quiet? Doesn’t every pcp have to let out roughly the same amount of air to push the pellet 809 fps (your peak in the shot string)?

    I was under the, apparently false, impression that a shroud and/or well designed mod was the solution for quiet. Both affecting airflow.

    I’m sorry for the question but if there’s another dimension to making a pcp quiet I’m intrigued.


  5. B.B.

    That seems to be a serious case of “Valve lock”
    With 52 shots to get to the peak and only ten shots with a difference of 11fps… and not really a flat spot at all, just a slow climb and quick fall off the peak.

    My AAs410 must have a vastly improved valve system, to get so many more shots and have such a large flat spot (about 40-50) of real good shots, and 90 with way less difference than those 66 shots..
    So, I guess you can say that things do get better with time!

    How did the gun shoulder? It looks very handsome.. how about the cocking effort? Smoothness of the action? How did it compare to the .22 cal S410 you tested?

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  6. BB,
    I enjoyed reading about the Shamal. There was one at the Little Rock gun show about 3 or 4 years ago with a Beeman 66R scope mounted on it. It was the most beautiful airgun I had ever seen. The gun was priced really cheap, around $500 with the scope, and I was surprised that no one bought it! I am left handed and the roll over cheek piece made it impossible to use left handed. I thought about modifying the cheek piece but I didn’t want to scar such a beautiful rifle. That is one of those rifles that still haunts me. I knew I should have bought it but the left/right thing held me off.

    I hope to see you at the shoot in Fort Worth on the 18th or 19th and see you in Little Rock also.

    David Enoch

  7. It’s a wonder Air Arms doesn’t remake or modernize the Shamal. If you don’t mind me asking,

    How much did you get this air rifle?

    On the Benjamin Marauder- can you put some sort of rubber or foam in the hanger so it stops “pinging” and clattering.

  8. Kevin,

    A well-balanced rifle opens AND CLOSES the valve with the pellet not more than 1/3 down the barrel. By the time it hits the airstream, the compressed air is down to perhaps 10-15 bar and the weenie silencer can deal with it.


  9. I just noticed in the picture of the Marauder that it looks like you can see (and count) the pellets when the clip is in the rifle. This is great for those of us who can’t count to ten. I looked at the Pyramydair site closeups and they seem to verify that, also. Now why is it so hard to remember 10 shots? Having too much fun I guess.

  10. Chuck,

    That is a good thing to notice..

    Counting to ten IS hard, when one is focused on the target and position..

    The Marauder can count that one as a real plus!! It sounds easy to load too!

    I hope that the nose of the pellet won’t cause a problem, like on the semi-auto crosman 600 CO2 pistol.. only a few pellet types will work in that gun.. lineal feeding can be difficult when the pellet needs to go the other direction..

    Soon we will know!!



  11. Hi BB,
    Well, it was worth a try to get you and the misses out to shoot with us. I will try to remember to bring both of my Belgium Hyscore 801s to Little Rock. You are welcome to borrow them for a while if you would like.

    David Enoch

  12. BB, that sepia? photo of the Shamal does nothing to hide the beauty of the figuring on that stock…I’ve spent alot of time admiring wood for gun stocks.I was truly shocked to learn that some folks offer Turkish Carcassian walnut rough blanks {just enough for one rifle}for as much as 3,500$!!!That fact in the back of my mind,accents my already great appreciation of a beautiful stock!sometimes I daydream of making a custom stock with premium walnut and a nice french polish…maybe a Daisy model 25,since it’s currently a dream….nice blog,thanks! FrankB

  13. I'm taking the lazy route because I couldn't stay on hold with Pyramyd, but wanted to point out an error in the email sale that went out today.

    The S&W CO2-powered revolver that BB reviewed recently (in glowing terms, I have it on my wanted list) is portrayed as a BB shooter, but I think that is incorrect, especially since it has a rifled barrel. Isn't this a "pellet-only" gun?


  14. Brian,

    On the home page of the PA website, in the upper right, there is the phrase “Want to get 5% off?”. It is a little obtuse, but that takes you to a form that you can fill out to report a problem and get a code for 5% off.

    I’ve found them to take errors seriously. They really do want to have the correct information on the website. My memory is that I’ve always gotten a “Thank you” for reporting the problem.


  15. Matt,
    Nothing too exciting: its 111FCXP3, bottom of line, no accutrigger. What I think is that if they all shoot like this one, ugly and flimsy-looking is cool. There was a sale+rebate on 150gr. Core-Lokts last fall, so I shot those in it and got <1.5 inch groups first time out at 100 yards with the cheap package scope at 3X, without even trying:). Its a really comfortable rifle to shoot, also, with a very simple stock shape.

    One of my brothers has a similar one, pre-accutrigger, in .308 and it has served him well also. In use, I like the synthetic stock well enought that I'm thinking about the Mark II FV as well. To be honest, I'm not sure if its the material or the fit that works so well for me, but it was a lot of bang for the buck, and a five-star rating for field use (not good for range display:)).

  16. Kevin,

    I noticed your interest in quiet recently. I personally have had a sound fetish for some time now. While I cannot give myself an expert rating in PCP’s, I would be glad to share what I have learned so far. Forgive me if some of this overly basic.

    Loudest – a 200 bar (2900 psi) or plus rifle with a short (carbine) barrel with no shroud or moderator. For me this was the Raider. About a 22-24 ft lb rifle. Deafening indoors.

    Loud – 137 bar (2000 psi) rifle with a STD length barrel – no shroud or moderator. This was the Disco. Even though it actually shot up to 26 ft lbs it was quieter than the Raider. I credit the difference to the combination of lower fill pressure and a slightly longer barrel. Still annoyingly loud indoors.

    Quiet – 220 Bar (3190psi) rifle with a full shroud. The shroud is effective. On the low power setting (14 ft lbs) it is quieter that an R-7, and even at full power (33 ft lbs) it is not as loud as an R-1. Cyclone – Very nice.

    Really Quiet – 200 Bar (2900 psi) rifle with a large diameter shroud and a 6 inch built in baffled silencer. This was my FX Whisper. I could actually get a higher sound reading working the bolt than firing the rifle. Think “ping” and that is about it.

    If you take all the qualities above that aid in quiet – a rifle length barrel, low fill pressure, lesser power setting possible, full shroud, and a built in baffled silencer – the Marauder has them all. Yeah.


  17. Matt61,

    Now that I’ve got the 61, you need to get one of those Crosman 2240s I’m always pushing. I think I’ve got 4 or 5 now–each different.


  18. The miracle of Pellgun oil.

    As my comparison of the Avanti 499 versus the Daisy 99 continues, a visit to the Chrony was unavoidable. To be fair I had lubed up both the rifles with Pellgun oil and given it a few days to soak in. The 99 sounds faster than the 499 by virtue of its lack of twang, but my 499 had clocked 317 fps when new which is well over the 260 fps quoted. I envision a nail bitter.

    The 99 gave an average of 300 fps, despite its superior sound. But the incredible news was the 499 which now averages 343 fps. I thought for sure the Chrony had finally succumbed to the dozens of love taps it has been given over the years. But my HW30S sent heavy Kodiaks at 504 fps and light Silver Bears at 633 fps which is the norm. (It has a plinker’s tune)
    So thanks to pellgun oil, I am guessing I may have the hottest 499 around.

    Wayne – I think this is our pink slip race. Your S410 vs my 499 at 6 meters
    off hand. 🙂


  19. Derrick,

    Yes, I’ve taken note of your reviews of the Crosman 2240, and the online reviews are certainly good. A 1377 is also a strong contender in the same class.

    BG_Farmer, a good economical choice after my own heart. I think all Savage centerfire rifles are the same 110 action anyway. You’ve got hunting accuracy and probably more already covered, but if there’s a drop-in modification with an AccuTrigger, you might consider it. It’s phenomenal. With that and select ammo, you’d have all the accuracy you could want. I was shooting Black Hills but a little light in my rifle and got so-so results, probably due to me. But once I got the 69 gr. that rifle really took off.

    All, on the general subject of ammo, I was greeted last night with my ammo purchase of M1 ammunition from the CMP. So, there is ammo remaining in the world; it just took three months to get to me. I was able to fulfill another firearms fantasy by hauling metal spam cans of ammo. Zombies beware.

    I’ve been thinking about my favorite blog entry. And I believe it is the one about the bluebird of happiness slapping B.B. in the face and posing an opportunity like bloated fruit on the sidewalk that rots its way into cracks and must be washed off with a pressure hose. Ha ha. A strong runner up is the one about learning to appreciate all the different powerplants with their strengths and weaknesses. Once one reaches this state of enlightenment there was a promise of nymphs….


  20. On the issue of the AccuStock squeezing the barrel – it’s acting like a bedding. Thinner barrels vibrate pretty violently so they benefit from pressure from the stock absorbing some of the vibration. A lot of competitive shooters bed the entire barrel so that there’s pressure on it along the whole length of the stock.

    That’s the gist of it, anyway.

  21. Volvo,

    Thanks for the input regarding your experiences with the many pcp’s and how they stack up in the quiet department.

    The cyclone being quiet is interesting. “Quieter than an R1 at full power (33 ft lbs)”. Wow.

    The fx whisper is known and named for being quiet and in .22 cal it’s rated as a 28 ft lb gun. Is it a 28 ft lb gun?

    I noticed you sold the whisper on the yellow awhile back. If you don’t mind my enquiring mind, why did you keep the cyclone over the whisper?


  22. Matt,
    I think this one can take an accutrigger, but I’m pretty sure MOA is possible with what its got on it — most things that will get shot with it aren’t picky about group size:)…would like to find “best” ammo, just haven’t had time. I thought yours was .308, but it sounds like .2xx something with a 69 gr. bullet? One thing that does feel cheaper than necessary is the bolt slop when its out.

    Well said. Free floating is a shortcut; full bedding is best.

  23. Sometimes things do look better on paper than in the real world….as for firearms and airguns they should at least look good on paper….target paper.

    I was wonder BB why HA (Jock Elliot?) was talking about the same filling situation with his AA shamal. I was researching the PCP guage and how not to trust their readings.

    I recently purchased a ted williams daisy 880. I was thinking about getting a 880 for an old freind, and when I saw this one, I knew my freind woold like this syle. I know who Ted Williams is (baseball hero and war vet) and later on the shotguns sold through sears, but does anyone know anything about this airgun?

  24. Matt61,

    Yes indeed, the Crosman 22XX and 13XX are both strong contenders for “best airgun value” awards. I don’t currently have a 13XX–as I get enough exercise hiking and riding the bike.

    Oh, I’ve got a .22 cal Marauder coming soon. Look out! It’ll be my first PCP rifle.


  25. Volvo,

    Those are some odds.. AAs410 at $1,000 or so, and 499 at $100 or so… risking on my offhand abilities…

    HHHmmm in a bench rest, your on.. I’ll take 1 for 10.. but with me offhand.. even to even … I would loose!!

    not that wacky.. Wayne

  26. I asked this a couple days ago and didn’t see any replies.

    Is anyone here coming to the Pyramyd moving sale?

    I’ll be there with a shooting buddy or two.


  27. ajvenom,

    Re: Ted Williams 880

    B.B. thinks very highly of these. Good buy for the money. The Ted Williams 880 is a Daisy 880 Powerline rebadged for Sears. Same gun. $45-$55 new.


  28. Derrick38,

    Congratulations on the Marauder order. Even before the accuracy testing by B.B.? Do you have a pump or tank to fill it with?

    I won’t be going to the pyramyd air garage sale. Long journey from Colorado.


  29. Kevin,

    Well..it wasn’t really an order. Crosman had a contest last summer called “Summer House” and the top prize was an “as-yet-un-named-secret-special-cool-new-gun.” Or something along those lines.

    As far as accuracy testing? Seriously, we need to wait? They haven’t invested all this time, money and build-up to make a dog. Heck, the gun would shoot even if it had a 2260 barrel like a Discovery.

    I’ll get a pump. I’m also interested in the CO2 adapter for indoor use.


  30. BB,
    Im looking to buy an accurate CO2 repeating pistol, any suggestions? I plan on shooting in my apartment, so i do not care about the power aspect, just the accuracy.


  31. Derrick,

    Would like to be there and meet you but I cann’t get away from Maryland, but even if I could I need the money for either the Marauder or a .25 caliber barrel, a Condor tank, and an AirHog shroud. Hummm both maybe???

    Mr B.

  32. derrick38,

    Crosman had a contest and you won? Congratulations! If the Marauder is the prize I’m impressed. Has all the potential to be a great first pcp.

    The dual fuel capability in a pcp is something I haven’t experienced yet. Optional CO2 is a great feature that among others has me very interested in the Marauder.


  33. BG_Farmer,

    Yes, .223 for me. It’s cheaper for the quality of ammo I wanted, and I was trying to hedge my bets for accuracy with reduced recoil. An M1’s recoil is plenty for me with the semiauto action absorbing energy. I think a 30 caliber bolt action would be a bit much for me for sustained shooting. Besides, .223 is plenty for the 100 yard range that’s available.

    Shorty, thanks for the input. That removes any remaining anxiety about the Accustock. I’m sure it will be terrific. Too bad they don’t retrofit to older guns because of some sort of steel spine in there, but I’m happy with what I have.

    Derrick, congratulations on the Marauder coming your way. I’ll look forward to your review. I can’t get enough information about this rifle.


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