by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Today’s report is the completion of a guest blog from Pyramyd Air employee Tyler Patner. He finishes telling us how things turned out with 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 the accuracy of the S510. Over to you, Tyler.
This report covers:
- Accuracy testing
- 25 yards
- 50 yards
- Pyramyd Air Cup
- Noise level
- Filling the gun
- Final thoughts
With chrony numbers like we saw in part 1, I had a good feeling about how the gun was going to do on paper. But you never know until you get there. I mounted an older Leapers 3-12×40 AO scope with BKL single-strap rings. The scope is one I’ve had for a few years and has always been one I’ll keep around since it’s good to mount on anything for testing.
The Pyramyd Air Cup was also steadily approaching, and I felt this combination gave me a good setup for the Gunslinger event we had planned. Twelve power was enough to be precise at distance but not enough to give me trouble finding targets. And, before I get hazed by you airgun style experts out there, I used the silver BKLs, as they were what I had. I’m a huge fan of BKL rings and was going to use them one way or another. Had the black single straps been in stock at the time, I would have ordered a pair; but alas, Pyramyd was not expecting them for another week or two, and I didn’t have time to wait.
The testing began with a quick 15-yard sight-in, just to make sure I was on paper and ready to go. I tested 8 different pellets at 25 yards to see what showed enough promise to test at 50 yards. Two stood out above and beyond the rest — the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.13-grain domes and H&N Baracuda Match 5.52mm pellets at 21.14 grains. At 25 yards, both pellets produced 0.25-inch 5-shot groups. The JSB 14.35-grain Exact Express shot well on the lower power settings, but not quite this good.
Stretching the rifle’s legs to 50 yards showed just how good the S510 really is. A 0.31-inch 5-shot group at 50 yards with the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy was as good as could be expected. The worst group from the JSB came in at 0.66 inches. This is still well within an acceptable accuracy range for me and most hunters, too. Most of the groups were averaging between 0.40 inches and 0.48 inches, so I was more than pleased with the performance from the gun with the JSB Heavy pellet.
Switching to Baracuda Match with 5.52mm heads yielded good groups at 50 yards, as well. But they were not quite as good as the JSBs. The best 5 shots was 0.57 inches and the worst was 0.75 inches.
At the end of the day, it was clear the Lothar Walther match-grade barrel in this S510 preferred the JSBs and that’s what I was going to stick with.
Pyramyd Air Cup
Prior to the Pyramyd Air Cup, I put about three tins of pellets through the Ultimate Sporter. I used the gun for the Gunslinger event, which is comprised of 16 shots at 1/10th scale silhouettes at 15, 25, 40 and 60 yards. With the Leapers scope set up at 12x, I was able to achieve an optimal sight-in for using my mil-dots.
I sighted the gun in at 15 yards, which also left me sighted-in at 40 yards. This next part, I wish I could say I planned for, but I did not and lucked out. At 25 yards, I was one mil-dot high; and at 60, I was just a hair over one mil-dot low. This was optimal, as it required very little work from me aside from adjusting my parallax for the different distances.
I felt good about the gun but still needed to figure out the process of loading. The rules prohibit pre-loading magazines, so I would have to do that on the line after the clock had started. I chose to go a different route. With the help of a good friend who does a lot of work with 3D printing, we were able to develop an easy-to-use single-shot tray for the S510. While I had to pay attention to how I was loading the pellets (as the S510 doesn’t really accept pellets loaded backwards), I found the method of single loading much faster than using the magazine. All in all, I would say it worked out well, since I was able to take third place in the Gunslinger competition, which helped me tie for the overall lead in the Pro PCP class.
The only shots I missed were the 60 yard targets. Between 40 and 60 yards, the amount of hold off required to dope for wind jumped significantly; and, because the wind in each round was different, it took a shot or two to figure out what it was doing. Hopefully, Pyramyd Air will be picking up these single-shot trays for the S510 line, as it’s one of the only high-end PCP’s on the market that does not currently have one.
When I unbox a new rifle, aside from the fit and finish, one of the first things I look at and get a feel for is the trigger. Being a field target shooter, I suppose you could classify me as a bit of a trigger snob. I like light triggers. Is that so wrong? While the S510 trigger is not light by my standards, it was just to my liking as far as the transition from first stage to second is concerned.
Out of the box, the trigger broke at about 1 lb., 8 oz. and had a longer travel than I would prefer. I adjusted out the travel and shot the groups for this review with the trigger left in its stock setup. For the PA Cup, I adjusted the trigger down to just a hair under a pound. It can probably go down to about 8 oz., but I felt good about where it was. Adjusting the trigger was quite simple and is well detailed in the manual.
One thing I’ll never like and never understand is why they put the safety on the trigger blade. This has never made sense to me and is more of a potential issue than a safety measure. That said, the safety functions as it should and works well. For hunters out there, the function of this safety is a lot quieter than the safeties on a lot of other rifles.
Anytime you have a gun with an adjustable power output, you will find that the sound level can vary. On low power, the gun was very, very quiet. I’d say somewhere in the same range of the Benjamin Marauder, which is about 85 db, from tests I’ve seen. I don’t have a sound level meter, but I’m confident the S510 Ultimate Sporter would be in the sub-85 db range on low. Turning up the power brings the gun into a slightly louder category, maybe 93-95 db. Still backyard friendly, for sure, but a small pop.
Filling the gun
Another new point on the gun is a new-style gauge that doesn’t use a traditional needle. I’ll let the pictures explain, but basically the gauge is color-coded. As you fill it, the red is covered with green. It’s a neat design, although it doesn’t seem as precise as a needle. After using it a few times, I got the hang of it and found it very easy to use.
The gun comes with the brass adapter to connect to the fill adapter on the gun. If you prefer to use a standard Foster quick-disconnect setup, you’ll need a male quick-disconnect with 1/8” bspp threads.
The brass fill adaptor comes with the S510. If you want to fill with a more common Foster quick-disconnect coupling, you need to get the Pyramyd Air adapter mentioned in the text and attach it to the threaded end of this adapter.
As I said to begin with, the S510 series of rifles has a lot of value in the high end market. The Ultimate Sporter is packed with quality and great features at a price point that won’t make you totally lose it. Compared to other brands/guns with similar features, the S510 is at the top of my list.
The Ultimate Sporter brings a lot of new features to the table that the target shooter and the hunter can enjoy and make good use of. The new adjustable cheekrest and buttpad are very welcome upgrades and will help shooters get a better fit. The laminate stock is gorgeous, and the stippling on the grip and forearm provide excellent feel and feedback.
Most importantly, this gun shoots the lights out! The ability to tune the power adjuster for almost any given scenario is almost as nice a feature as the phenomenal accuracy of which the gun is inherently capable.
While I think the trigger-blade safety is not the best and the magazine indexing system can be prone to issues because it’s an exposed part, I didn’t have issues with either during my testing. Overall, the S510 Ultimate Sporter is a welcome addition to the Air Arms product range and one that I’m fortunate to have gotten my hands on. Air Arms’ slogan is one I’ve always found to ring true, “You and Air Arms, a winning combination.”