Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Arms S510XS
Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Manual
  • The regulator
  • Who is right?
  • Not done
  • Why so slow?
  • Adjustment day
  • Trigger
  • Bottom line
  • Stock adjustments
  • Sight-in
  • Elevate the rear of the scope
  • Now adjust the stock
  • Summary

Lots of things to do today — this is the report on adjusting the Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock. As you recall, this rifle is very adjustable, and I am using the Sportsmatch 30mm high adjustable scope rings with the Meopta scope — a completely premium package! Therefore I want to set everything up so it’s easy to shoot.

Manual

First thing — reader Edw asked how the manual was. In case you newer readers aren’t aware, Pyramy Air posts the manuals for all the guns they sell, as well as some obsolete ones, on their manuals page. Scroll to the bottom of their home page and look at all the links. Look under Customer Support and you will see they have a manuals library. Go there to find a .pdf of the manual for this rifle. You can check it for yourselves!

I will say one more thing about the Air Arms manual. It’s written with an assumption of a certain level of PCP understanding. If I were to write it my manual would be longer because I would explain the procedures in greater detail.

The regulator

Gene Salvino told us that the bottom pressure for the regulator was 150 bar. Reader GunFun1 then asked about adjusting the reg pressure lower. It sounded to him like there should be more shots available below 150 bar, and there would be if the valve was set up that way.

Any pneumatic valve in a regulated gun is set to operate at a certain pressure level that the regulator supplies. Changing the reg pressure means you also need to change the valve design, the transfer port sizes, the hammer weight and hammer spring — it’s a redesign of the entire action!

Now look at what the manual says.

S510XS Ultimate Sporter manual
From the manual.

Who is right?

What I discovered while testing this exact rifle is it was still on the reg at 150 bar — which the manual says it should be — but fell off the reg just below 125 bar — which is higher than the manual says. There was still green showing on the onboard gauge, yet the rifle was no longer regulated. Which one is right — 150 bar (Gene), 110 bar (the manual) or 125 bar (my chronograph numbers)?

My testing is right for this specific rifle. This is why a chronograph is so essential for a PCP owner.

The Air Arms manual is right for the entire S510XS series of rifles — to get you started, because that is the way they designed them. However, you had better test your specific rifle with either a chronograph or by shooting groups at long distance and determining when (at what onboard pressure) the pellets start dropping away from the central group.

And Gene is right for all those guys who call up the Pyramyd Air tech department and don’t want to bother with a chronograph. They just want to know the answer to their one question, “When should I refill the rifle?” So he gives them a pressure number that, in his experience of having seen many dozens of the same airguns perform, is a safe bottom limit.

Comprende?

Not done

Reader Shootsky understood what I just explained, and I bet a lot of you did as well. He said:

Gunfun1,
You know I’m in full agreement with you that knowing what makes a PCP function/adjustable (or anything else for that matter) should be available either in the Owners Manual or at least online in video(s) or PDF from the manufacturer/seller. Of course having a high level of generic knowledge on how various PCPs work (hands on is more better ;^) Now for the BUT…
You also know that a bunch of buyers want a Turn-key experience; the proverbial Black Box! Add air, insert pellets, pull back the Thingies and levers: AND BANG! Those are the same folks that might not even look at the Quick Start Instructions! They are also often the folks who send back a perfectly functional rifle after they have “messed” with the controls/buttons/knobs/twisty thingies/levers. I don’t envy sellers and manufacturers that must deal with that type of buyer.
Oh! They are also the ones who get on the review pages or Social Media and trash some hard working person, company or manufacturer without the courtesy of even a call to see what can be done to get satisfaction. In some countries/place you can still buy things from a shopkeeper who is an expert on what they purvey. I think PA (and some others) try to do that as best they can within the constraints of online sales and manufacturers that provide varying product information.
Just like doctors say, All Patients Lie!
shootski

I would only add that not all doctors graduated at the top of their class, either. In other words, it works both ways.

Why so slow?

Reader Halfstep asked why the rifle became so slow on the bottom power setting. He thought the manual might shed some light on that, but I have read it and I can’t see where it does. In fact, that part of the manual tell you less than I told you when I tested the power levels.

So my answer is — Halfstep, I DON’T KNOW. But my guess would be the transfer port is too limited on the lowest power setting. What would I do about it? I would not shoot the rifle on the lowest power setting.

Adjustment day

Wow — I wrote half a blog just getting to the start point! Today I am adjusting the rifle to function exactly the way I want it to for the accuracy test. I normally don’t do that. I usually just adapt to whatever airgun I’m shooting, because after the accuracy test I’m finished with the gun. But this rifle is so darned adjustable that I’m devoting an entire report to setting it up.

I’m going to adjust:

Trigger
Cheekpiece
Buttpad

To adjust the cheekpiece and buttpad I first have to mount the Meopta Optika6 3-18X56 RD SFPscope. After mounting the scope I have to adjust the Sportsmatch 30mm high adjustable scope mounts. To adjust the mounts I have to sight in the rifle.

What I’m saying is this is a HUGE report that will take me two days and perhaps 10 hours to complete. Let’s get started

Trigger

The trigger has three adjustment screws, labeled A, B and C in the manual. Adjustment A changes the weight of pull. Adjustment B changes the length of the first stage trigger pull. Adjustment C changes the point at which the second stage starts and, if adjustment B is done incorrectly, then adjustment C may not have any affect.

Confused? Me, too!

Fortunately this isn’t my first rodeo and I think the manual writer meant to say that adjustment B affects adjustment C and vice-versa. That’s the way most trigger with these three adjustments work.

So — does adjustment A change the pull weight? The factory sent the rifle with the trigger breaking at 1 pound, 8 ounces. I think that is ideal, but for you I tried to adjust it heavier. One full turn of the screw went from 1 lb. 8 oz. to 1 lb. 11 oz. Two full turns of the screw went to 1 lb. 13 oz. Two full turns back dropped the pull to 1 lb. 6 oz. Yes, the pull weight adjustment does work but this trigger will never get very heavy. I also noticed that as the weight of the second stage increased, the weight of stage one increased from about 8 oz. to 12 oz. and it went back to 8 oz. when the weight was dropped.

I adjusted the length of the first stage pull by adjusting where stage two engages. And the manual is correct — one-half turn of that screw in the wrong direction and stage two disappeared. So I went back to the start point and then went one-quarter turn in the opposite direction and stage one became half as long. I didn’t bother with the stage one length of adjustment because I know that adjusting it will affect where stage two engages. You can spend many hours fooling with these two adjustments, or you can do what I did and cut out the wasted time.

Bottom line

The bottom line is the S510 trigger is extremely adjustable. It takes time and patience and a beautiful pull can be set as long as you are satisfied with the ranges that are possible. Fortunately I am. I reset the trigger to as close as I could to the factory setting and I was done.

Stock adjustments

Now we come to the ergonomics. The stock adjustments affect how you see through the scope, so the first step is to mount the scope. Because I always mount the rear ring higher and also because with these Sportsmatch rings that is super easy to do, I wanted to mount the rings on the receiver with the rear ring elevated by a small amount. However, these mounts can be adjusted while on the rifle and even while the scope is installed, so just mount them first without doing anything. There is a scope stop pin to mechanically lock the rear mount to the rifle, but since the S510 is a pneumatic, it isn’t needed.

Once the scope is in the rings, move the scope forward and backward until the eye relief seems right. That’s where you can see the entire image through the scope when the rifle is brought to your shoulder — without craning your neck! Then rotate the scope tube until the vertical reticle splits the rear of the receiver. This is done by eyeball. You can use a bubble level and a plumb bob string if you prefer but all you are doing is leveling a ball bearing. Think about it.

S510XS Ultimate Sporter scoped
The Meopta scope is mounted on the S510XS.

Now the caps are screwed down tight. Then adjust the eyepiece focus until the crosshair appears sharp. Look at a white featureless background while doing this and don’t look through the scope for more than a couple seconds. When the crosshair appears sharp the instant you look though the scope the eyepiece is adjusted. Some of us may need to wear our glasses to do this, though I prefer to not wear them. I had to adjust the eyepiece several turns before I saw the reticle in sharp focus. I will show you what the reticle looks like later this week when I start reviewing the scope.

Sight-in

For control purposes I sighted-in at 12 feet with the scope and rings just mounted and not adjusted in any way. Ten to twelve feet is perfect for this. My goal is that the round strikes in line with the aim point and as far below the aim point as the center of the bore is below the center of the scope. But this first shot hit about an inch below that. Alignment with the centerline was pretty good. That gives me a baseline to compare to.

This scope parallax adjusts down to 10 yards, so to keep the target clear at 12 feet I was running it at 3 power. The scope is a second focal plane scope, so changing the magnification does change the impact point, but over years of experience I’ve learned that the change is minimal — no more than one pellet diameter out to 35 yards. So – who cares?

S510XS Ultimate Sporter sight-in 1
The first shot landed about one inch below where I wanted it to, which I have marked for you — the distance between the center of the scope and center of the bore.

Elevate the rear of the scope

Now I elevated the rear of the scope. Loosen the two locking screws on both the front and rear ring and screw the adjusting screw on the rear ring clockwise. The Sportsmatch directions say that a quarter turn clockwise of the rear ring adjusting screw lifts the strike of the round by 22mm at 25 yards. That’s just less than one inch.

<a href=”https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Air_Arms_S510_XS_Ultimate_Sporter_Air_Rifle_Laminate_Stock/4626” >09-09-19-04a-S510XS-Ultimate-Sporter-ring-screws</a>

The height adjustment screw (arrow) can be turned when the two locking screws above are loosened.

S510ZSWE Ultimate Sporter ring screws
The height adjustment screw (arrow) can be turned when the twop locking screws above are loosened.

I gave the elevation screw a full turn. It was more than I thought was needed but it turned out to be good.

S510XS Ultimate Sporter sight-in 2
The second shot hit the target exactly at the desired impact point, which is the distance between the center of the scope and center of the bore. That was pure luck!

Why loosen the locking screws on both rings? You do it because when the rear ring lifts up the front ring has to rotate forward to keep from bending the scope tube. These Sportsmatch rings are gorgeous and they have just become part of my kit. Pyramyd Air — make me a price!

Now adjust the stock

Now that the scope is properly mounted, adjusting the stock is easy. Loosen the adjustable cheekpiece screw and move it up and down until your face plants perfectly to see through the scope when the rifle is shouldered. That will be up for almost everyone, because the scope sits high.

Then there is a second cheekpiece adjustment that loosens a ball joint at the top of the cheekpiece post. This adjustment allows the cheekpiece to swivel side to side and up and down in the front and back on an angle. I adjusted it until it felt comfortable and then snugged down the two screws to lock it in place. It looks odd but feels right.

I also adjusted the buttpad down by half an inch. Now the stock feels good. It’s not perfect but it is good. Perfect would require some wood rasping of the raised cheekpiece, but for a factory stock this laminated S510 XS stock fits me as good as my field target rifle used to. As I warm to the rifle some other tweaks may be necessary.

S510XS Ultimate Sporter stock
The cheekpiece is adjusted to fit my face and hold. The buttpad has been dropped a bit to raise the buttstock against my face.

The final adjustment to the butt is the possibility of increasing the length of pull. I didn’t do this because at 14.5-inches it’s right for me the way it came.

Summary

The rifle is now scoped, roughly sighted-in, the trigger has been adjusted and the stock now fits me as good as it is going to. I’m ready to start testing the accuracy.

The next report will be a detailed report of the Meopta scope. I want you to know what I am sighting through to test this S510. And somewhere down the line I will show you the old advance pawl that moves the circular magazine when the rifle is cocked. We will see where it lives and replace it with a new one. So, there is a lot more to come.

34 thoughts on “Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock: Part 3

  1. Like I said before I had an AA 410. It seems this 510 is improved upon that. But not by any great margins. I am totally happy with my lesser powered springers, and a couple cheap PCPs at this point. My next airfun will likely be at this price point, but a fully tuned Springer.


  2. B.B.

    Lots of good stuff here. When you shoulder the rifle are you standing or at the bench?
    Great explanation of how the scope rings work. Would they be robust enough on a medium powered stringer? Say 14-18 fpe?

    Thanks,

    Yogi


    • Yogi,

      These mounts can be used on a medium powered sproinger. They come with an integral stop pin. Once you lock down the adjustments, they are locked down. The only time I would not use these mounts is when the proper mounting of the scope does not allow such as with some air rifles and short scopes that may require an offset for proper eye distance.

      Chris uses them. I use them. Now BB uses them. Try them yourself. If you do not like them, you can return them to PA for a refund or you can let me know. We can work something out on them. I would not mind another set or two.



      • B.B.,

        You have mentioned in the past that setting up rifle for bench work VS off hand work is 2 different things. Ergonomics are different. Does that still apply?

        Chris


  3. B.B.,

    First, Yep! and thanks for the shout out.

    In the Regulator section: “Any pneumatic valve in a regulated gun is set to operate at a certain pressure level that the regulator supplies. Changing the reg pressure means you also need to change the valve design, the transfer port sizes, the hammer weight and hammer spring — it’s a redesign of the entire action!” That Is antithesis and Thesis and rational for why all of my Big BORE PCP and small bore hunting rifles/pistols are not regulated. And, why my other PCP, 10 Meter target rifles excepted, are bottle regulated guns with a Dump Valve/Plenum(s) allowing different Set Points on each bottle. That allows different pellets (mostly for mass differences) to be accommodated with just a bottle change. I would imagine that would also be the easiest solution for a PCP with switch caliber barrels. I don’t believe that is ground breaking since it seems Air Force and others have done similar things. So in short be careful when you jump on the internal regulator wagon the PCP needs to be adjustable in a bunch of other ways too just to be able to optimally shoot another pellet. If you don’t (desire to) do the work (REQUIRES CHRONOGRAPH and lots of time) to deeply understand PCP function then be prepared to be frustrated. Or you can go for the KISS method that I mostly recommend. I was taught by some smart Airgun folks that all those adjustments sound great to begin with but that most of us find the pellet/bullet that gives us the big grin and then try to lock down the adjustments and never change them again…unless they, God Forbid, stop making that pellet or bullet!

    END of RANT ;^)

    Under the “Elevate the rear of the scope”. The caption reads: “The height adjustment screw (arrow) can be turned when the twop (two) locking screws above are loosened.

    Also, if you look through the scope as you adjust the rings you can bring the cross hairs to the low POI (Point Of Impact) and it will keep it from being a guessing game. I usually shoot three shots or so before I do an adjustment and relock my adjustable rings. Then just reposition cross hairs (dot) to the Original POA (Point Of Aim) to verify. Hope that makes sense.

    shootski




    • Shootski,

      Have to agree with you that adjusting a regulated PCP can easily become a very frustrating experience.

      I disagree that that is a good reason to avoid regulated rifles.

      A well designed PCP valve will be balanced over a range of pressures and give a (fairly) flat Bell-curve. Put that same valve in a regulated rifle and feed it a steady pressure and the velocity will stay pretty flat over the whole fill. Like automatic transmissions in cars, I like the “fill and forget” convenience of a regulator.

      There is a reason that the adjustments for most PCPs (some of the FX rifles excepted) are not readily accessible – it’s to keep people from twiddling things that they don’t understand should not touch.

      From the FX website… The Impact is completely adjustable: air valve control, hammer spring tension, and even regular adjustments can be made externally to allow for various shooting scenarios. Think this is great (for tweak-a-holics) – if you know what you are doing but a potential disaster if you don’t.

      I’ve found that by noting (measuring and recording) the factory settings, subtle adjustments (to the regulator and hammer spring) can be made to tune a regulated rifle without any great danger of getting into trouble. In my case, I wanted a .177 HW100 FAC for target shooting and plinking but I knew that with the factory “maximum speed” settings it would shoot too hot. I did a lot of research before I bought one and after a 4-can (2000 pellet) break in period, I de-tuned mine (from 1050 fps to 950 fps) which improved the group size and doubled the shot-count. Been extremely happy with the rifle – so much so that I bought one in .22 for hunting and pesting.

      Each to their own eh?

      Cheers!
      Hank


  4. BB
    You don’t have to go through all that work you mentioned to find the manual. Click on the link to the gun your reviewing. At the bottom of the guns description you’ll see a place to click the link to the guns manual.

    And the whole gun wouldn’t need redesigned. The gun is pretty close to having a very adjustable system. The only thing it lacks right now is an adjustable striker spring. And I’m guessing no one knows right now but it just might have a striker adjustment. There are other pcp’s that have the striker adjustment but don’t say it in the manual. I have had 3 guns like that. Two different Hatsan pcp’s and the other the Gauntlet.

    So just because the manual doesn’t list it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

    And I’m sure the system is set good from the factory. My point was that the gun is tuned right your reviewing. You should (always) have usable shots after the gun falls off the regulator. That’s how my Maximus is set up with the regulated Air Venturi hpa bottle. It’s regulated at around 1100psi but the gun will shoot good down too around 850 psi. Maybe that helps you understand a little better what I was saying.

    And do you remember my response to Shootski’s long explanation. It was a simple “Yes”.


  5. B.B.,

    The stock adjustments are nice,…. eh? 😉 They just add to the overall enjoyment of the shooting experience.

    I have the same rings on the Red Wolf. I think I was able to get by with mediums. The card does not say specifically. The sticker on the back of the card reads: SPM-ATP66. M = medium?

    Enjoy getting to know the new gal. Looking forwards to the scope review.

    Good Day to you and to all,…….. Chris


  6. BB,

    LOL! Now you understand why I gave these mounts a 3R rating! Everybody balks at the price of these mounts. I did. Once you use them though, that’s it. Anything less becomes a disappointment. Why would anyone who spends hundreds to thousands on an air rifle and the same on a scope for it and want to use ten dollar scope mounts?

    As you have stated with all your shimming and swapping around and such, mount adjustability is a must. With small, careful adjustments you can almost zero your scope without touching the scope adjustments. What more do you want?


  7. BB,

    Thank you for your explanation of how to mount a scope. I have been doing it this way for nigh on fifty years. You do not need to waste your money on all those “special” gun vises and level sets. They are nothing more than a marketing ploy similar to what most airgun manufacturers print on their boxes.



  8. B.B.
    I’m sure you have written a blog, or two, regarding the subject of scope centering, and how to determine the scope height relative to the barrel center line. If you wouldn’t mind, could you restate how those two things are determined, or post a link to a previous blog explaining how this is done? When I first mounted the scope on my Urban, I tried a couple of methods to determine the scope height, but the two measurements did not agree.
    Also, when I took the first shots after mounting the scope, the POI was 3″ to the right and 3 1/2″ low at 17 yards. Do you think that this was too much to adjust the scope, and possibly cause the erector tube to not have enough spring tension? I may be second guessing myself on these things, but your blog today reminded me of these issues. There may be others here that are new to the subject as well, and a review is always good anyway.
    Geo



      • B.B.
        Maybe I didn’t explain this correctly. When speaking of scope centering, I am talking about the midpoint of the elevation and windage adjustments. You have stated previously that sometimes if having to adjust the elevation excessively, the erector tube could float, causing POI changes.
        Geo


  9. B.B.
    Does an externally adjustable regulator output control make an adjustable transfer port power adjustment control redundant? Are both types of controls needed to fine tune the deviation between the slowest shot and the fastest shot at a given regulated output? There is still hammer weight and hammer spring energy to consider. And Dwell, which has to do with valve poppet spring size, I think.
    What I’m hearing from the readers like Shootski is, it’s better to have pcp guns set up for specific power and amunition combinations, or use easily changeable bottle /regulator combination than it is to adjust them each time you want a change.
    My guess about the ‘ball bearing’ is that the intersection of the verticle and horizontal reticles is the center of the ‘ball bearing’? The center is the center, rotating the scope doesn’t change that.
    Do I really want wifi on a new chrono? I can see how it would make checking terminal ballistic numbers easier than getting out of the chair and walking down range to see how slow that pellet is really going, I probably would just put a hole in it tho.
    Nice stock on that S510,
    Robert


    • Robert,

      Yes, an externally adjustable regulator is a good thing, but as demonstrated with the FX Dreamlite, it doesn’t make much difference. The transfer port does, though.

      YES!!!!! Set a gun up for one pellet and one power level and leave it alone! But that’s just an old dinosaur talking.

      B.B.


      • BB
        If your regulated gun doesn’t have a transfer port adjustment or striker adjustment a adjustable regulator is needed to fine tune the regulator to the gun.

        That is the thing about this regulated subject. The more things that can be adjusted helps when regulating a gun. A Marauder rifle is begging for a regulator. And a adjustable regulator is even one more benefit. Then you can take total advantage of setting the gun up for a low working regulated pressure. The benefit of that also is if the guns air resavoir is not big.

        There’s are alot of things that go into tuning a regulated gun.

        And here think again about what I said before. This Air Arms gun your testing almost has all the features to make it a very tunable gun.

        But as Shootski mentions. It’s set up for a person to set and forget to get a pretty reasonable shooting gun. But if a few more options where available it would be a very tunable gun. It’s all about how you want to play the game. Leave it alone and shoot or really dial the gun in to get the most out of it.

        Think about field target shooters. You know what road they tend to go down.


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