Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock: Part 1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- New scope!
- Testing adjustable scope mounts
- S510XS Ultimate Sporter
- Adjustable trigger
- Light weight!
- Sling swivel studs
- Special stuff
Before I begin I have a word for some readers. While I was at the Pyramyd Air Cup last weekend I talked to Justin Biddle, the marketing manager for Umarex USA. Specifically I asked about the availability of the new Synergis underlever repeater. Justin told me that it’s coming to market soon and that I was one of the writers on his list to get one to test for you. There has been a lot of interest in all repeating spring guns and in the Synergis in particular, and I just wanted you to know what’s going on.
Today we begin an interesting series! It will feature the Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock that’s in the title, but I will be testing two other new products at the same time. Since I have to mount a scope on this rifle I have held off until Meopta sent me their new Optika6 3-18X56 RD SFP scope to test. It is a scope with a 3X zoom ratio (3-18) and a second focal plane (SFP) focal package. Veteran readers will remember that I discovered Meopta at the 2016 SHOT Show and tested and then purchased their Meo Pro 80 HD spotting scope, after finding it the clearest spotting scope I had ever looked through, and that includes spotting scopes in the $3,000 range! A couple years later I bought their MeoStar 10X42 binoculars to use as my close range spotting scope because the optics were so sharp and bright.
I really like their high-end optics that sell for about half what competing brands cost, but Meopota hasn’t made an airgun scope — until now. I have in my possession a $650 (street price) 3-18 scope that parallax adjusts down to 10 YARDS!!!!! Say what you want — this is an airgun scope and a Meopta to boot! The rifle I’m now testing is worthy of a premium scope and if this one is typical of everything else I’ve seen from Meopta, it’s worth every penny!
Is it able to withstand the recoil of a springer? Nobody knows for sure. After testing it on this rifle I may mount it on a nice well-behaved springer. I don’t need to destroy it on a jackhammer Chinese gun, because I wouldn’t do that to any good scope!
Testing adjustable scope mounts
As you may have read, I always like to elevate the rear of any scope I mount to cancel the barrel droop problem. Even if the gun doesn’t droop, lifting the rear of the scope does no harm and gives me more adjustability at longer distances, so it’s always a plus. With that in mind I asked Pyramyd Air to send me Sportsmatch 30mm high adjustable scope mounts. Now you may balk at paying $150 for scope rings and I don’t blame you — it took my breath away as well. But the $1,500 S510 rifle I am testing is a no-compromise precharged rifle that’s worthy of every benefit you can give it. I didn’t spend $4,000 on a Swarovski scope and $500 on a scope mount to go with it, so in fact I saved a ton of money by going the way I did. But this will be a test of the very best. I even asked for the laminate stock on the S510 because that is the best they have.
S510XS Ultimate Sporter
The rifle is a 10-shot repeater in all calibers. It comes in .177, .22 and .25. I got a .22 caliber to test because at high power it produces up to 32 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The power is adjustable via a small knob on the right side of the receiver and there are 4 distinct settings. A set of marks on the left side opposite the knob tells you roughly where the power is set, but each pellet will have its own power range. So this rifle will take some getting used to.
I chose the laminated stock that does drive up the price by a lot. I wanted to test something that is the best for a change. Besides being attractive laminated wood does increase the strength of the stock but it also increases the weight.
The 186cc air cylinder is regulated. The fill is to 250 bar (3,626 psi), so there should be plenty of shots, depending on where the power is set. The fill probe is an Air Arms proprietary attachment that does not have a Foster fitting on its other end. I will have to either rig one up or use a dedicated air tank — shades of 1990!
Two 10-shot rotary magazines come with the rifle. The neatest thing about them is they are not advanced by a spring. Instead a hand or pawl advances them each time the rifle is cocked — much like the cylinder on a single action revolver. I’ll have more to say about them when I start shooting the gun.
The magazine does stick up above the top of the receiver, so 2-piece scope rings are necessary. Of course that was taken care of by the selection of the Sportsmatch rings.
The rifle is bolt action and cocked via a sidelever on the right side. The lever cannot be swapped to the other side. The stock is set up for shooters of either right or left hand persuasion, so other than the lever there is some ambidexterity. I will say this — I’m a righty and cocking is easy!
The trigger is adjustable as it should be on a rifle like this. I will probably spend some time playing with the adjustments so I can report on that in detail.
This rifle is a PCP, so it’s going to be light. I selected the heaviest stock you can get and the rifle still only weighs 8 lbs. 7 oz. It feels like less because the stock is so well-proportioned. I remember when single-shot Daystates weighed this much — this is a repeater with lots of features!
The silencer is a large can on the end of the barrel and so far it seems to do a wonderful job. I will probably say more when I start shooting it a lot.
The stock is adjustable in several ways. First, the cheekpiece adjusts up to position your sighting eye in line with the scope. But there is more. The cheekpiece sits on top of a ball joint on the riser whose locking screws can be loosened to allow a wide range of positioning. I plan to take full advantage of this and to report it to you.
The butt pad also slides up and down. I will play with that, as well. And finally the length of pull can be adjusted by installing spacers. The manual doesn’t say where they are found but I think they are inside the butt right now. As the rifle came the pull was 14.5-inches which is ideal for me, but I will also look at adjusting the length of pull for you. Apparently there needs to be a report just dedicated to the adjustments.
Sling swivel studs
There are two studs for detachable sling swivels. One is permanently anchored at the bottom of the butt. The other is on a forearm accessory rail (good for bipods?) and can be repositioned along the rail by loosening a 3mm Allen screw.
Many readers own S510s and are welcome to comment at any time. I’m sure there is a host of stuff that owners know that I probably wouldn’t touch on or even know about. Also — Gene Salvino mentioned to me that Air Arms has made a change to the design of the rifle’s feed pawl that advances the circular magazine. The older style feed pawl can break its spring, and the new one has a coil spring that won’t break. This change was made around May of this year — or at least that’s what Gene remembers. I will show the new part and how it’s installed.
As you can see this will be a long and involved test of a major rifle, a major new scope and a top-flight pair of adjustable rings. I will put the reports on the scope and rings into their own series but I’ll also link them to this report so you can keep track of everything. Stay tuned, kids, because The Great Enabler is about to embark on a dangerous (to his checkbook) journey!