Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is a guest blog from Pyramyd Air call center employee Tyler Patner, who’s going to tell you about the Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Okay, let’s look at this air rifle. Over to you, Tyler.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter
Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter

This report covers:

  • The stock
  • The forearm
  • Bipod
  • Finish
  • Chronograph results
  • Adjusting the gun for real-world operation

Air Arms has long been at the front of the pack when it comes to sporting air rifles. The year 2014 was no different for the iconic manufacturer. Celebrating their 30th anniversary, Air Arms rolled out several new models that caught the attention of airgunners the world over. The S410/510 series has been some of my personal favorites for quite some time. They represent a value for your money — for which you often have to pay at least a few hundred dollars more. Multi-shot, externally adjustable power, a great trigger and a highly accurate Lothar Walther barrel are all benchmarks of the line. The Ultimate Sporter represents a step forward for Air Arms. With the help of Minelli in Italy, they’ve kept the classic S510 style stock but made a few upgrades that both the obsessive field target shooter (yours truly) and any hunter can enjoy. Let’s now take a closer look at some of the features of the Ultimate Sporter.

The stock

The main difference most will notice on the Ultimate Sporter is the gorgeous laminated stock. With the introduction of the new Air Arms FTP 900 in the same year, Air Arms and Minelli presented a unique laminate color scheme that has not been seen on the production market before. Not only do the new colors add a bit of flare, but the addition of an adjustable cheekpiece marks the biggest upgrade that we’ve seen thus far over a standard S410/510.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter cheekpiece 1
The cheekpiece adjusts in several directions.

This is a feature many might overlook; but if you’ve never used a rifle with an adjustable cheekpiece, you really don’t know what you’re missing. When properly set up, it ensures a comfortable and consistent cheek weld that’s automatic and vertically and horizontally adjustable. You can also move it forward and backward and put some angle on it with the ball joint design.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter ball joint
The cheekpiece moves on an adjustable ball joint.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter cheekpiece 2
The buttpad also adjusts, making the rifle easy to adapt to most shooters’ physiques.

The forearm

Moving forward to the forearm, there’s a flat-bottom design unique to the Ultimate Sporter stock. It contains an accessory rail, the same as you’d find on a 10-meter target rifle or field target rig. Commonly referred to as an Anschütz or Euro rail, the gun comes standard with a swivel stud installed on the rail, which can be moved and even removed entirely. This matches the stud in the bottom of the cheekpiece rod and makes the rifle ready to accept a sling out of the box. For this review, I mounted an Air Arms bipod I found floating around.

Bipod

I use a bipod on my FTP 900 and love the quick fold-out design. Sadly, this item is not imported at this time, but I wish it was! A UTG bipod could also be mounted to the swivel stud, as UTG provides a neat adapter for that exact purpose. This rail was previously found only on the field target lines from Air Arms, and I believe this was included in the Ultimate Sporter for the Hunter Field Target (HFT) shooters in the UK. With the introduction of the HFT 500 in late 2014, Air Arms made it very clear that this is the market for which the stock was built, as both rifles share the same stock.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter rail with bipod

The Air Arms bipod I attached to the rail isn’t currently sold separately by Pyramyd Air.

Finish

The Ultimate Sporter stock has a semi-gloss finish. When I first opened the box, I was taken aback by it because I was expecting the same high-gloss finish as the FTP 900. I’m not knocking the finish on the Ultimate Sporter; it’s just something that needs to be noted. The stippled sections of the stock feature the same rough feel that I experienced on the BSA Scorpion SE.  It looks like this is what Minelli is going with now, and I like it a lot. It provides a very responsive feel and great contrast to the smooth portions of this gorgeous laminated stock.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter finish difference
Though the wood laminate on the Air Arms FTP 900 stock is the same as the Ultimate Sporter, the finish is glossy compared to the Ultimate Sporter’s semi-gloss. That’s difficult to see in this picture, but you can readily see it in person.

Chronograph results

The beauty of a gun like the S510 is that you have an adjustable power wheel, which is an adjustment screw that lets you control the size of the transfer port. This makes chrony testing harder, as I had to play with different settings and record results.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter sidelever
The short sidelever is pulled out and back to retract the bolt. The silver knob is the right side of the power adjuster that’s controlled on the left side of the action.

To get constants for high and lower power, I used H&N Field Target Trophy pellets in the .22-caliber rifle I’m testing. At 14.66 grains, it gives me a good idea of how close to manufacturer specs the gun actually performs. With the power adjuster set to the lowest setting, I aired the gun up to 200 BAR and loaded up some FTT pellets. Over 53 shots, I got a high velocity of 658 f.p.s. and a low of 640 f.p.s. An 18 f.p.s. variation over that many shots for this unregulated gun is pretty phenomenal if you ask me. The 14.66-grain FTT pellets were pushing 13.70 foot-pounds of energy at the average velocity of 648 f.p.s. As velocity started to drop off, I checked the gauge and saw the gun was down to about 135 bar. I was seeing spreads of about 2 f.p.s. between shots, so I knew that as long as the barrel was a good one, this gun was going to be a shooter!

I refilled the gun and turned the adjuster all the way to the other end of the power spectrum to see how hot this baby could go! This time, I really got a clear sweet spot. I found that a 200-bar fill is too much pressure at this setting, as we find with most unregulated PCPs. This should be particularly good news to hand-pumpers and folks who only have 3000 psi scuba tanks. Not quite as many pumps and more useful fills from your tank is never a bad thing, unless you’re a glutton for punishment!  From a 200-bar fill, the first 15 shots were really useless. They started around 900 f.p.s., and it took the first 15 shots to get up to 960 f.p.s. before we got into the sweet spot. Those looking for the very best accuracy will find only inconvenient points of impact shifts over the course of those 15 shots. Once we passed shot 15, though, the numbers began to impress me.

Shots 16-32 gave an extreme spread of just 15 f.p.s., with a standard deviation of 2.80 f.p.s. That spot fell between 170 and 135 bar. If I were pumping, I’d far prefer going to 170 bar as opposed to 200 bar. Having used a pump in the past, I can tell you that my smaller frame can barely get a rifle up to 200 bar without jumping on the handle to force it back down! The highest recorded velocity was 973 f.p.s., and the low for those 17 shots came in at 958 f.p.s.

If we look at the entire shot string on the 200-bar fill, the low was 902 f.p.s. on the first shot. I stopped shooting once the velocity dropped below 930 fps, which happened at shot 40. Bear in mind that this is with the power adjuster set at the highest point. What it means is that the transfer port is fully open. So, this larger spread and lower shot count is to be expected. That’s all the adjuster is — a simple transfer port restrictor. With the transfer port all the way open, the 14.66-grain FTT pellet produced an average 30.30 foot-pounds over 40 shots. For a medium-weight, .22-caliber pellet like the FTT, that’s quite high. With a heavier pellet, such as the JSB 18.1 grain Exact Jumbo Heavy, you can expect to be in the 35-38 foot-pound range.

Adjusting the gun for real-world operation

Now came the task of finding out where the gun was most efficient for what I consider real-world numbers. This means using a heavier pellet and scaling back on the adjuster to get a tighter velocity spread. This also produces a smoother shot cycle. Before you tilt your head and give me that questioning look, let me explain.

When talking about a shot cycle, most people go straight to spring/gas-ram guns that have a lot of felt recoil. In a PCP, I’m talking about lock time as well as felt recoil. As you go up in power on a PCP rifle, you do begin to feel what I characterize as muzzle flip. This is a pulse created partially by the hammer (which in most hunting power PCPs is relatively heavy) hitting the valve, as well as the expulsion of air from the muzzle. Particularly with shrouded PCPs, you tend to feel this a bit more, as the air that gets caught by the baffles is propelled backwards into the dead space of the shroud. With the power adjuster on high, the shot cycle was ugly and harsh — I can’t describe it any other way. It’s not like the gun wasn’t accurate, but it took far more effort from me to achieve the groups I expected of a gun of this quality.

When shooting a PCP, I need the gun to do the work for me. Why? Well, I’m lazy and accustomed to 12 foot-pound field target guns that don’t move when you break the trigger. So, in my testing, I settled on the power adjuster set about three-fourths of the way toward the high end.

Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter power adjuster
The power adjuster (arrow) controls the size of the air transfer port. It’s located on the left side of the receiver.

With JSB 18.1 Exact Heavies, my string started at 825 f.p.s., with a 180-bar fill, peaked at 838 f.p.s. at shot 15, which was right around 150 bar. The string ended at 820 f.p.s. with shot 30. The pressure in the gun at the end was about 125 bar.

The JSB heavies produced roughly 28 foot-pounds at the muzzle. This is a pellet/speed combo with which I’ve had success in other guns, but I’ve only seen numbers this good out of regulated PCPs. Over the entire 30-shot string, the standard deviation was just 1.23 f.p.s., with an extreme spread of 18 f.p.s. This setup was yielding regulated results without the regulator! At this point, I wasn’t about to mess with the power adjuster further, as I don’t think those results could be bettered. The only thing left to do was shoot the S510 Ultimate Sporter for accuracy! I will do that for you in part 2.

42 thoughts on “Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter: Part 1

  1. Wow, Nice gun! But I don’t see me spending that much on an airgun whIle hunting restrictions on them are still in place when I can get front line equipment for the same money. Good job with the blog!
    Reminds me of how much work I still have left in learning my 2400KT on HPA.


  2. Hey Tyler!

    This is Burke, Lloyd’s chauffer. It was nice to meet you at the Fun Shoot. I had a fantastic time!

    This is shaping up to be one awesome air rifle. I could see saving my pennies up for this. I hope they make it for a couple of years.

    You do not mention it, but would I be correct in my assumption that the trigger on this is pretty sweet? Also, is that not your FT rifle in the picture?


    • Hey Burke,

      Glad I can put a face with the screen name! Was a pleasure to meet you as well.

      Yes the trigger is pretty sweet. Will get to that in part 2. Nice out of the box, but did make some tweaks to get it just right for me. And yes, that is my FTP 900 in the side by side pic. Not the one you saw at the funshoot though, that was one of my Steyr’s.

      Tyler


  3. Tyler
    Hey this Mike Loar from the MCAFT club we had emailed a while back about the side wheel for the Hawke sidewinder that I had ordered for the Varmint series without realizing they would not fit the Varmint scopes and you helped me out greatly by allowing me to return them for a refund and turned me on to Bill.

    Excellent report and that is one sweet looking and shooting gun. you did not state what the weight is as it appears to be inline with most guns similar to it in style. I do like the externally adjustable power adjustment and the fact that it can be adjusted to shot as well as a regulated PCP without being regulated.

    On a off topic question. Do you have any info on when PA will have the new 25 cal camo Mrod in for sale and possibly what they will be priced at as they are 599.99 from Crosman now as was just curious if PA would have then slightly discounted from Crosman price as that is going to be my next gun purchase in the realtree xtra camo edition.

    Thanks again for the excellent report and look forward to the future reports.

    BD


    • BD,

      You may be interested to know that in this Friday’s blog I will begin a report of the Gen 2 Marauder with synthetic stock. I have purchased a .25-caliber Marauder for a special project I am doing, plus I will test the rifle exactly as it is shipped from Crosman.

      B.B.


      • BB
        That’s perfect timing as I am going to buy the new 25 caliber Camo Mrod as soon as PA get them in for sale unless it is going to be several months before they get the camo editions. that being said the only difference is the stock so your report will be just in time for me to save all parts for future reference to use to tune and improve the 25 cal Mrod when PA get the camo edition.

        You don’t by chance have any idea as to when PA will receive those for sale would you as I am jonesing for one and am not real patient in my eager antipation of a bigger caliber toy to play with before I truly move up to the big boys table with a 30 cal or above as my next purchase after the 25 cal camo Mrod

        BD



          • Edith
            Please don’t tell me that as I would rather give my money to PA instead of Crosman and do not want to wait 6 months for PA to carry the camo editions so please wave you magic wand and make the appear sonar, Please Please with sugar and spice and everything nice.

            Also I replied to RR in the open letter manufactures blog about NASCAR and I believe it went to the world of spam so could you please check for me at you r convenience and if so get it on the blog.

            Thanks BD



              • Edith
                I did not figure it was on PAs end but just the opposite so I just hope they don’t hog them to long before releasing them to distributors.
                I don’t have the money just yet but it is on its way so lets just hope the timing works out in my favor .

                BD


                • BD,

                  When I saw Crosman’s email announcing the camo Mrods, I wondered if this was something they were getting ready for the fall. . . or maybe a special item for Christmas. Just a guess. I have no inside info, but I know things take time.

                  Edith


                  • Edith
                    They are for sale on their site now for 599.99 and just the stocks for people that already have a 25 Mrod are 125.00. So it to me would only make sense to get them out to as many sources for sale as possible unless they are only in limited numbers at this time.

                    BD


                  • Edith
                    You can put one in your cart and checkout with it so yes they are for sale now as I just put one in my cart and got all the way to having to pay for it with out anything saying preorder or delayed shipping.

                    So yes they are selling them now.

                    BD


                  • Edith
                    If you find out that PA will have them for sale or when they are for sale on PA Please let me know as I am serious about buying from PA as soon as my money gets here.

                    Thanks BD


                • Edith
                  If it will be that long before they release them to distributors then I will have to bite the bullet and buy from them as I am not willing to wait that long for a new toy.

                  BD


  4. Great blog.
    Imo Air Arms have the best looking guns on the market coupled with great accuracy make it a winning combination.
    No wonder they have been in business for so long.Now if only I can win the lottery.Lol.

    Pete


    • Hey Pete,

      We are in competition for winning that lottery – for the same reasons! LOL!

      Laminations are nice but I’d probably go for a regular walnut stock.

      Vana2


  5. Howdy Ya’ll, Happy Memorial Day. To those who served, thanx. For those of us who didn’t, letz raise “em a toast. Great report Tyler. Shoot/ride safe.
    Beaz


  6. Mr. Tyler Patner,
    Thank you for writing such a descriptive article about the AA S510 ultimate sporter. In your article, you said “As you go up in power on a PCP rifle, you do begin to feel what I characterize as muzzle flip. This is a pulse created partially by the hammer (which in most hunting power PCPs is relatively heavy) hitting the valve, as well as the expulsion of air from the muzzle. ”

    Would you say that this S510 at high power setting generate about as much recoil/muzzle flip as a 7.5 joules spring power air rifle?


    • Joe

      It’s very different. I suppose they are similar but the entirety of a spring piston rifle moves when fired. While you can feel a piston gun (even a low powered one) move in your offhand as it recoils, you do not get the same feeling with the S510 on high power. It is simply upward muzzle movement.

      It’s a little hard to put into words very well, but hopefully that explains it a bit better. Compared to an HW30, the recoil is faster and more of a pulse than a physical moving of the entire gun.

      Tyler


      • Tyler,
        Thank you for your reply. It sounded like the S510 heavy hammer and strong hammer spring is more like a HW35 (firing cycle is more like a pulse).

        Do you have any plans to do a accuracy report on this S510?


  7. Happy Memorial Day and thanks to all veterans.

    That’s a nice gun. But I would be very interested to hear how it compares to the S200 which I’ve always been fond of. Apparently, the S200 leaves little or nothing to be desired in terms of accuracy, and I like the optional magazine that you can install. I don’t know if PA offers that option.

    Baron Wulfraed and BugBuster, very informative about bullet designations. I’m not surprised that history played a role. Wulfraed, it looks like the difference between the bolt open feature and the alternative is one cycle of the bolt. I don’t think that makes a huge difference but it is undeniably there. But once you are done shooting with your bolt open feature, you need to find a way to decock your gun for storage, so there is probably on dry fire built in there. Not a big concern for a military weapon.

    BugBuster, I reload 30-06 for my M1 and use the .30 caliber Sierra Match King Hollow Point boat-tails. Nothing but the best. I think that my .1 grain tolerance is probably good enough, and no one would even notice the difference with something more precise. So in questing for truly perfect ammo, the only other area I can think of is overall cartridge length. My info says that a variation of + or – .005 is common. I use the Lee Reloading stand which has a certain amount of flex but I have gotten my tolerance down to the above. How could one improve? Perhaps by bolting the reloading stand with gigantic pressure to a solid table. Or maybe one might encase it into a concrete stand.

    Here’s a question on gun maintenance. I’m a complete convert to B.B.’s advice on using Sweet’s 7.62 anti-copper fouling agent. The stuff smells incredibly toxic and what it brings out of my military rifle barrels–especially the surplus ones–is truly astonishing. So, I got to thinking. Where is this cleaner appropriate? Presumably in anything that fires a copper jacketed bullet. Would that include something as small as .223? And is there a need for it for centerfire handguns?

    Matt61


    • Yes on both but you don’t need it all the time. Use of Balistol (which is mild) will also remove copper fouling if used on a regular basis. You can use the Sweet’s from time to time.

      Mike


    • Matt,

      I do not know how the well the 200 would go head to head with the 510, but at the Fun Shoot I met a guy who had a laminated stock 200 with a stick magazine. He flat stated that it and another air rifle that belonged to a deceased close friend would never leave his possession. Over a two day shoot, he shot his 200 most of the time.


    • Matt61,

      Having owned two S200’s, I’d like to think I can comment here 🙂

      They are very different guns. The S200 is bare bones, no frills, what you see is what you get. Typically, that is a very accurate rifle, with a nice trigger but all limited to 12 FPE or just a bit above. In terms of accuracy, I would say they are competitive, but the edge would go to the S510 in just about all other areas. It’s much quieter, the trigger can be made better and there is no need for extra’s as it comes with multi shot capability. I had my first S200 about 3 years ago now and while it was a great gun, the CZ barrel was a bit fussy, it needed to be cleaned A LOT! Not that I mind, as it was a one hole gun out to about 30 yards, but it did wear on me at times. Just my opinion, take it for what you will.

      Tyler


    • Baron Wulfraed and BugBuster, very informative about bullet designations. I’m not surprised that history played a role. Wulfraed, it looks like the difference between the bolt open feature and the alternative is one cycle of the bolt. I don’t think that makes a huge difference but it is undeniably there. But once you are done shooting with your bolt open feature, you need to find a way to decock your gun for storage, so there is probably on dry fire built in there. Not a big concern for a military weapon.

      As I tried to describe — the difference is in reload /speed/… With a hold open you swap magazines, and just release the bolt to close. Without it, after the magazine swap, you have to hand cycle the bolt completely — against the full force of the mainspring. On pistols, the first is normally a one-hand operation (oddities like the P.08 excluded), requiring a simple thumb press while bringing the sights to bear. The second requires two hands, and taking the pistol off target.

      Rifles with an automatic hold-open should be similar — a quick flick or tug on some part of the bolt to unlock it (though two handed, of course). I don’t own any semi-autos with an automatic hold open: .30US Carbine has a manual hold open (a pin on the bolt handle that is pressed into a recess on the frame), the Marlin/Glenfield 60c .22LR is similar (push the bolt handle inwards to catch on a recess), and the HK-91 is a really positive catch (pull the cocking handle all the way back and rotate it up 30 degrees so it catches in a cut-out).

      And then there are the other actions: The real UZI (with full auto) fires from an open bolt… The semi-auto version that was available in the early 80s was redesigned to fire from a closed bolt.


    • Matt61

      I do not know what the accuracy potential of your particular M1 Garand is, I personally do not believe that very many of them if any, are capable of one MOA accuracy to begin with. I believe that the M1A is a much better choice.

      Your choice of bullets is fine and the +/- .1 grain powder charge is also. What weight Match King are you using and what kind of brass? Are you aware that many bench rest shooters do not even weigh their powder charges, but throw them straight from the powder measure?

      Take your reloads and roll them across a piece of plate glass and observe if there is any run out of the bullet in relation to the case, if there is, that’s a problem and you may need a better quality set of reloading dies.

      My first new center fire rifle was a Winchester model 70 chambered in 30-06 with a B&L 2.5 X 8 power scope, which was manufactured in Rochester, New York. These scopes had tapered cross hairs and no turrets, the W/E adjustment was solely in the mount itself! My father had the same set up except his rifle was a pre 64 model 70 featherweight.

      This was in 1968 while I was in the military, at that time the rifle, scope and mount cost me around $200. After my discharge in 1970, I reloaded for everything that I owned except for rimfires and shotguns so I have run a few 30-06 rounds and many other calibers through various presses over the years.

      If you will tell me your reloading process from A-Z, and brand of equipment used, I may be able to give you a few pointers to help. If you wish to do this off the blog, let me know and I will authorize Edith to give you my personal email address if she would be willing to do that.

      Bugbuster


  8. Your comment about power levels on PCP rifles has me reconsidering adding a power adjuster to my Benjamin Discovery. I imagine most people add the adjuster to increase the power level. Since I was happy with the stock power level I decided trigger work was all the Disco needed. But if I reduce the power level such that I get about 750 fps from an 8 grain pellet, I might get a bit more accuracy. As a bonus I might get more accurate shots per fill. A reduced power Disco double might have a wonderful number of accurate shots with the right pellet. Am I in the right track? As a second bonus leading of the barrel should be all but eliminated.



    • Ray

      It all depends on what your intended goal is. If you want a sub-12 FPE rifle that will shoot for days on a single charge, you’re on the right track! You’ll have to play with it to see how the accuracy changes at various velocities. You will, most definitely, have to get your wind doping skills in shape for a 12 FPE gun though.

      I would disagree with your statement on the barrel though. My main two FT rifles, an Air Arms FTP 900 and Steyr LG110 both need to be cleaned quite often. 250-500 pellets and 500 pellets respectively. Not that I wouldn’t get good accuracy if they weren’t cleaned that often, but I can see a difference once I hit that many shots. All depends on the individual barrel in question.

      Tyler


  9. Tyler,

    Memorial Day activities kept me from weighing in sooner (and a lot of other regular readers too it appears), but wanted to say a very thorough job! Looking forward to the accuracy test.


    • Thanks HiveSeeker

      I’d say that I think the accuracy will surprise folks, but a gun of this price and quality range really only preforms one way, SUPERBLY!

      Tyler



  10. matt61—I have been using wipe out for the last 4-5 years. It has become my favorite bore cleaner. I have been cleaning firearms (black powder, .22 rimfire, centerfire rifle and pistol and many millitary rifles) since 1956. I have tried many popular commercial and several homemade cleaners. Look up the wipe out website to see its advantages over other products. If you try it, let me know your results. Ed



  11. Hey Tyler, I got to meet you at Baton Rouge during Cajun’s. Wish we had had more time to talk, I had many questions about my FTP900 I think you could have helped me with. I am considering the ultimate sporter in .177 as my second air rifle. Would use for hunter field target. Could you recommend a scope and rings ? Also do you know what estimated fpe would be for this rifle ?
    Thanks,
    Franklin Thomas


    • Frank

      Pleasure meeting you as well. Hopefully the FTP is still working out well for you, I love mine!

      For a Hunter class scope, I think the Hawke Sidewinder 30 is a nice scope for it. Lots of markings with the 1/2 Mil Dot reticle and the 50mm objective gives a better field of view than the Tactical line. The Aeon scopes are nice as well but I still like the less busy Hawke reticles in comparison. To each their own. I’d take a look at the 4-16×50 Sidewinder

      https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Hawke_Sport_Optics_4_16x50_AO_Sidewinder_30_SF_Rifle_Scope_Illuminated_SR_Pro_Reticle_1_4_MOA_30mm_Tube/4825

      For Rings I like BKL. That’s pretty much what I use on all of my guns unless I want adjustable’s in which case I use Sportsmatch.

      Energy would be adjustable, but with a heavy pellet (JSB heavy) you could run it over 20 FPE. 3/4 turn on the power adjuster would be around 18 FPE if I had to guess.

      Tyler


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