by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Reasons to rejoice
- The rifle
- The accessories
Today we begin looking at the Ataman BP17 PCP Soft Touch bullpup air rifle. It comes in .22 caliber only and I am testing the black one.
Reasons to rejoice
You readers should be glad I’m looking at this one. It’s a full bullpup that many of you say you like. It’s a PCP in .22 caliber and most of you like that. It’s compact, yet delivers a muzzle energy of 25 foot-pounds. I think a lot of you will like this report.
The rifle is just under 24 inches long. It weighs 5.1 lbs. according to the description online, yet my postal scale says the test rifle weighs 5 lbs. 15 oz, which is more like 5.9 lbs.
The Soft Touch title relates to the smooth black rubber that covers nearly all of the airgun. It’s firm yet grippy, which seems perfect for a hunter. And because it is synthetic it shouldn’t feel as cold when the temperature drops.
The rifle is a 7-shot repeater, It’s cocked via a sidelever on the left front of the gun.
It has a circular clip seated in the comb, below the top of the surrounding material. It is nowhere near the Picatinney rail that accepts the scope mounts. Additional circular clips stow in slots under the rail, where there is room for 4 more.
I say “clip” for this part, because the entire mechanism for advancing the pellets is inside the rifle. All this part does is hold the pellets. It has a spring-loaded ball bearing on either side to hold it steady and aligned in the rifle and also when stored. The rifle comes with 2 clips.
Ataman even includes a tool to adjust the fit of the clip to the rifle. What I am calling a clip they call a magazine, and the tool allows the user to adjust the tension of the axle to best fit the slot in the receiver.
When I saw the accessory package I knew this rifle was going to be put together right. There are TWO fill probes! One has 1/8 BSPP threads and, for the bulk of the airgun world, the other one has a male Foster fill adaptor. If the Russians understand this why don’t the Brits and Swedes?
Because this is a bullpup rifle, this is where I would usually get on my soapbox and complain that bullpup triggers can’t possibly be good because of all the linkage they require. Well, this one isn’t that crisp, but it is super light. Maybe it is crisp, as well, and my trigger finger just hasn’t learned how it works yet. It goes off with stunning lightness, giving little cause to complain.
The pull is 13-1/2 inches long. Remembering that this is a full bullpup, the pull feels good to me so far. The thumbhole pistol grip is very vertical and thicker, front to back, than an AR grip, so your trigger finger doesn’t feel so cramped.
The barrel is 14.5 inches long and is encased inside a shroud that has a silencer mounted on the end. It’s one without baffles and sounds loud when I dry fire the rifle. I will have more to say about it when I do the velocity test.
The barrel and shroud/silencer are separated from the forearm and floating. I think that should help accuracy.
The manual that came with the BP17 is about that rifle and nothing else. It even has an illustrated parts breakdown that’s an exploded isometric projection of how the gun goes together! All the parts are illustrated and given names and numbers on a list!
The manual has a parts list and this illustrated parts breakdown that’s an isometric projection.
As I mentioned you have a choice of fill probes to use. The probe is inserted from the right side of the rifle, only. Fill the 100cc reservoir to 300 bar (4,350 psi), so it will be best to fill this rifle from a carbon fiber tank that starts out with 310 bar (4.500 psi). You’ll get more full fills that way.
The specs say you get 25 shots per fill. I will test that in Part 2.
There are no sights on the rifle so I am obviously going to mount a scope. HOWEVER — the BP17 is a bullpup of extremely short length. I’m not going to install the Hubble Space Telescope on it! I’m thinking of all the appropriate scopes I could use. I’m sure you will all help me!
We have a really different and interesting PCP to test here. Tell me what I should be looking for and why.