Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter with Laminate Stock: Part 3
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The regulator
- Who is right?
- Not done
- Why so slow?
- Adjustment day
- Bottom line
- Stock adjustments
- Elevate the rear of the scope
- Now adjust the stock
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reader Shootsky understood what I just explained, and I bet a lot of you did as well. He said:
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!
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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=”/product/air-arms-s510-xs-ultimate-sporter-air-rifle-laminate-stock?m=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.
I gave the elevation screw a full turn. It was more than I thought was needed but it turned out to be good.
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.
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.
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.