by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Unusual features
- Two fiberoptic front sights
- Rear sight
- The silencer
- The rifle
Today I begin a report on the Stoeger S4000E breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle combo. This is a moderately-priced ambidextrous gas spring piston rifle that comes in both .177 and .22 calibers. It has several things I have never tested for you, including a silencer that has a large air expansion chamber beneath the barrel.
The S4000E is rated to 1,200 f.p.s. in .177 caliber with alloy pellets, and 1,000 f.p.s. with lead. In .22 caliber the ratings are 1,000 f.p.s. with alloy and 800 f.p.s. with lead. I asked for a .22 caliber to test for you. This is a reasonable power level that has a good chance to be accurate. And, with all the innovation that’s gone into it, I sure hope that it is!
The rifle comes with a 4X32 scope and mounts to augment the adjustable open sights. I will test both types of sights for you. If the rifle turns out to be real tackdriver, there is always the option of mounting a more powerful scope, as well.
Before I describe the rifle let me tell you about several of its unique features. I’ll start with the Multi-Grip System (MGS). There are two removable panels on either side of the pistol grip and two more on either side of the forearm, at the swell where your off hand goes. The black panels that come on the rifle are checkered with coarse diamonds, but they can be swapped with orange panels that have finer stippling or blue panels with the smoothest stippling of all.
I hoped at first that one of the panel sets would have a Wundhammer palm swell, but no such luck. They all share the same slim profile. I tried all three and definitely prefer the coarse diamonds of the original black panels that Stoeger calls their Pro Adaptive Checkering.
Two fiberoptic front sights
Another unique feature is the rifle gives you a choice of two different fiberoptic front sight tubes. That’s something I’ve never seen before. The front sight comes with a red tube installed and a much brighter orange/red tube as a replacement. I’m colorblind, but I asked Stoeger and was told it is an orangish-red. It looks school-bus yellow to me. The red tube seems dark to my eyes and I will probably shoot with it for greater precision with the open sights, as it will appear to be a plain black post when I sight.
The rear sight adjusts for both windage and elevation. The manual tells you which way to turn the knobs to move the sight which is good because neither set of adjustments has any reference markings. However, in yet another first, there is an adjustment knob on each side of the rear sight for windage, making the rifle even more ambidextrous.
The final unique feature we will look at is the silencer that Stoeger calls the S3 Suppressor. That is a good name for it because it is impossible to silence a spring-piston rifle, since 80-90 percent of its noise comes from the powerplant and not from the discharge at the muzzle. The S3 is baffled and directs the pressurized air down into a large expansion chamber located below the barrel. Look at the image on the box.
This picture from the box explains how the S3 Suppressor comes apart, and how the pressurized air is directed down into a large expansion chamber beneath the barrel. I have not seen anything like this before.
The S4000E is a breakbarrel rifle powered by a gas piston. It weighs 7.65 lbs. It’s 44.125-inches long with a pull of 14.5 inches. The pistol grip and trigger blade are far enough apart to favor a larger hand.
The stock is 100 percent synthetic with a Monte Carlo comb and a raised cheekpiece on both sides for more ambidexterity. The stock is nicely sculpted to fit both hands, with the forearm swell perfectly positioned for my off hand. When I raise the rifle up to my cheek it aligns quickly.
The synthetic material of the stock is smooth in most places, with the coarse checkering I mentioned earlier where the hands touch. The synthetic material is hard at all places except at the buttpad, where it is a soft grippy rubber. The feeling of all these parts together makes this an easy rifle to hold offhand.
The piston stroke is quite long, as can be seen when the barrel is broken open. But the actual rifled barrel is only 14 inches long. A long piston stroke is where the power comes from, so the cocking effort doesn’t need to be that hard.
To cock the rifle the muzzle has to be slapped to open the deep chisel detent. Once open the rifle cocks like any breakbarrel, though the stroke is long so the barrel comes back quite far.
The trigger is two-stage and the engagement point of stage two is adjustable. I will report more on that in Part 2.
The safety is a button at the top of the comb that comes straight back when the rifle is cocked. Yes, it comes on automatically every time you cock the rifle. You can also put it on manually at any time — even when the rifle is uncocked.
There is also an anti-beartrap that is separate from the safety. Once cocked the rifle must be fired, so bear that in mind. And never let go of the barrel while loading, because any manmade safety device can fail.
I selected the .22 to test, and I’m glad I did. With light lead pellets it should get around 800 f.p.s., which is just about where I want to be with a spring piston rifle — especially one with a gas spring. I’m counting on that long stroke to make the cocking lighter.
So, what’s my take so far? Well, there is a lot of innovation in this budget air rifle, which is a good thing. I need to know just three things at this point. What is the power with a range of premium pellets? How nice is the trigger? And, most importantly, is the Stoeger S4000E accurate? If it is, we have a winner on our hands. If the trigger is also nice and the power is decent with good pellets, we will have a world class air rifle at an affordable price point!
I’m putting this test on the fast track because of the potential importance of the rifle. With Christmas coming this could be a very good find!