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The Airacuda Max: Part 1

This is a guest report from reader Ian McKee whose blog handle is 45 Bravo.  The subject is the new Airacuda Max from JTS.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at blogger@pyramydair.com.

Take it away, Ian.

The Airacuda Max
By Ian McKee

JTS Airacuda Max
The .25 caliber Airacuda Max.

This report covers:

  • Description
  • Trigger
  • Receiver
  • Barrel
  • Baffles
  • Magazines
  • Shortcomings?

JTS announced two new air rifles at the SHOT Show in January 2022, the Airacuda standard that is unregulated, and the Airacuda Max that is regulated and has an adjustable stock, They will be available in .22 and .25 caliber. Both are expected to start retail delivery within the next few weeks. Today we will be looking at the JTS Airacuda Max in .25 caliber.

The Airacuda Max is a Price Point PCP, that is at the time of this writing expected to retail for $419. But unlike the other air rifles built to a price point, they do not use mass amounts of synthetic parts. [Ed. That’s just over the top limit of $350 that I have set for a PPP.]

JTS Airguns are based in Katy Texas, and their air rifles are all wood and metal. Yes — you heard that right, an air rifle built for us dinosaurs.

The air rifle shipped with a bag of o-rings and valve seals. These and the rubber buttpad are the only synthetic things I can find on this gun.

Description

With an overall length of 41.5 inches, and an out of the box weight of 7.9 pounds it would be at home on the bench, or in the field hunting or pesting.

Starting from the back to the front, there is a nice firm grippy buttpad that is attached to a nicely finished wooden thumbhole stock.It is a dull finish that I think looks and feels great. The stock is an ambidextrous thumbhole stock that has laser etched checkering in the grip and forearm area, and sports an ambidextrous cheek rest that is adjustable for both height and forward or rearward angle.

Moving forward, it has a side lever cocking handle, that is large enough to get three fingers on, but it is soooo smooth and easy, it has a very positive feel and just “snicks” into place at either end of its travel.

JTS Airacuda grip
Here you see the sidelever and the thumbhole pistol grip.

Trigger

The trigger is a single stage affair that is adjustable, but has the feel of a two stage trigger. From the factory it was set at 1lb, 5oz with just a bit of creep, but it was smooth and predictable, with some minor adjusting it now breaks at 15 oz, with just a hint of movement.

Inside the metal trigger guard is a Marauder style safety that moves forward to disengage, and rearward to put it on safe (the way we dinosaurs like because it is ingrained into our brains from years of shooting M1 Garands, and M14/M1A’s). And really that is what the rifle reminds me of, as it feels solid and well made, without the weight and bulk of the aforementioned rifles. Everyone who has handled it likes the way the stock feels and shoulders.

Receiver

The receiver is all metal with a Picatinny rail machined into the top. On the bottom of the forearm you find laser cut checkering to give you a positive grip, and two pressure gauges, one that shows the tank pressure, and another that shows the regulator pressure. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, this gun is regulated.

JTS Airacuda degas screw
The degassing screw.

If you wish to adjust the velocity without adjusting the regulator, the hammer spring is externally adjustable by means of a flat head screwdriver.

Barrel

The rifle has an 18-inch precision rifled barrel that is not choked. The barrel is housed inside a shroud. And the report is fully moderated by baffles inside the shroud.

JTS Airacuda muzzle
The Airacuda barrel is well-crowned.

The shroud threads onto the front of the receiver, and the metal baffles stack over the end of the barrel to center the barrel within the shroud. The baffles stack onto each other, then an internal muzzle cap threads into the shroud, tensioning the barrel and baffle stack.

JTS Airacuda baffle stack
Airacuda baffle stack.

The muzzle cap that threads into the shroud is also metal, and it has a 1/2×20 UNF fitting for your favorite moderator, in case the internal suppression is not enough for your needs.

The threaded fill port cap is metal, as is the machined barrel band (I know you are tired of hearing me mention that word metal by now, but you just don’t find many airguns in this price range built like this.) Under the fill port cap is a standard male Foster fill coupling.

Shop New Products

Magazines

The guns will ship with two of the 10 shot magazines in either caliber, the magazines are all metal save for the soft rubber o-ring that retains the pellet.

JTS Airacuda magazine
The Airacuda Max magazine.

Speaking of the magazines, they will be available separately and are listed as fitting many popular precharged air rifles on the market. Yes, I have talked with another tester who has one in .22 and he says the .22 caliber magazine does fit his Marauder and his Avenger, so shooters that have guns that use that type of mag will have an option for an upgraded design.

Shortcomings?

By now, I know many of you are saying this rifle can’t be all roses. Somewhere there have to be some downsides that I am glossing over. You are right, there are, but in the overall picture and price point, you will see they are minimal.

JTS Airacuda Ian
My rifle is beautiful, don’t you think?

The thing most shooters will miss first is no sling swivel studs or rails to mount a sling, bipod or light if you are pesting at night.

The next thing is the fact that the regulator is internally adjustable, meaning you have to let the air out of the gun and remove the pressure tube to make the adjustment. Then attach the pressure tube and then refill the gun, and test your velocities. While this seems like a big deal, it really isn’t. Externally adjustable regulators are relatively new to the scene, and many airguns that are more expensive still have internal regulators. Once you find the happy place where the gun is most accurate, you probably will not adjust the regulator again.

The third issue may just be unique to this run of rifles as they are a pre-production run. The gauges read in MPA (Megapascals) instead of bar, or psi. The actual production guns may have a more conventional gauge for the American or European market, but the current gauges are marked in red where you need to stop filling. Also the conversion to bar is easy, just add a zero to the MPA number (15 MPA = 150 bar, 20 MPA = 200 bar and so on).

That about sums up the JTS Airacuda Max. In part two we will go over velocities and accuracy with slugs and pellets, and how to make adjustments to the gun and the regulator.

So — I want to know what everyone’s (including you other dinosaurs out there) thoughts are about an air rifle that offers these features at this price point.

I will tell everyone, I like it so much that I bought it. If it turns out to be a flop, at least I own one of the first 25 flops.

JTS Airacuda
The Airacuda is an exciting new air rifle.

Shoot safe, have fun.

Ian.

37 thoughts on “The Airacuda Max: Part 1”

  1. Good Morning BB!

    Ian,

    This air rifle certainly sounds interesting so far. The regulator on my HM1000X is also internal. It is not a biggie to adjust it either.

    I do have one issue with this air rifle though, well more than one actually. This particular dinosaur does not care for pistol grip stocks. The little brother to this, the Airacuda, has a more traditional shaped stock that this dinosaur would prefer.

    The other issue I am having so far is the caption on the last picture states that it is American-made, while the photo in the receiver section clearly shows Made In China. Let us hope the production air rifles are of the same quality this one seems to be.

    The other shortcomings are no real big things either. My HM100X did not have sling studs either. Very easy to remedy. Gauges? No biggie there either. This dinosaur has learned to read bar.

    Speaking of pressure, what is the fill pressure of this air rifle? I do hope you will address this in Part 2.

    • RR,

      I’m the one who put Made in America on the caption — not Ian. I simply thought he forgot to mention it.

      Thanks for the correction.

      BB

      • BB,
        I remember months ago, after reading raving reviews about this rifle, asking you if you had gotten one to test! Well you have eventually. Really nice rifle. I have seen only one “negative” comment on this gun so far. A reviewer mentioned that the seals went. Since the test guns are out for only a few months. That’s not so good despite having spare seals in the box. Maybe that is a good reason to have extra seals in the box?

    • I know from experience that an item, labelled ‘Made in China’, is definitely an item that was labelled ‘Made in China’. 🙂

      I used to work in a factory where I was tasked to apply exactly that label to items that were clearly produced there, ie not in China.

      I have found that looking behind the scenes, has always been an eye opener. 🙂

    • When I got the airgun I didn’t receive any documentation, so I went by the gauges, it shows red at 22mpa (3190 ish psi) with the reg set from the factory at 2000 psi (13mpa).
      I have since downloaded the user manual.

      After the initial testing report at the factory settings, I will tune it for where it performs best if that is different than factory settings (and we all know those are very rarely optimal) .

      While I am normally not a fan of wood pistol grips stocks for the same reasons, and I rarely (read that as never) buy a Gen1 of anything.
      But only a limited number of pre-production guns hit the shores for testing, and I am a low serial number nerd. (Rick Eutsler, if you ever go to sell your Airacudas, contact me.)

      I do not get guns sent to me to test, so I had to get this from one of the YouTube people who is higher up the ladder, and was willing to part with it.

      I want one in .22 as I prefer that caliber, and .25 is overkill for my normal airgun needs, but again, this one was available.

      It is showing potential as a slug gun for longer ranges and that may be where it will find its niche in my lineup.

      When they come available I will buy a standard model in .22.

      Ian

      • Ian,

        It is a personal thing, but I try to stay away from anything “Made In China”. It is very hard to do these days, but there are a lot of airguns out there looking for a new home that are not made there. I considered the Airacuda until I found out its origin.

        I have met Communist Chinese. I do not like them. I will do my best to ensure that the enemies of my country do not make any profit from me. It is a personal thing. Just saying.

  2. Good morning all. I’ve been watching these with great anticipation. I normally try to stay away from new models and let someone else be the Guinea Pig . A while back I preordered a 25 cal Standard Cuda and a .22 Max from Pyramid. . Ridge, I do not like thumbhole stocks as well, both in form and function. I have a couple already and have learned that my abnormally big hands can still get a side thumb grip on most so it is not a deal breaker for me. Also , the fill pressure is 3000 PSI. I’m hoping the Standard in .25 becomes my new “Pester” everything looks great on paper, we shall see. Y’all have a blessed day.

    • I also never buy a Gen 1 of anything, but one of the preproduction rifles was available for sale, and I am a low serial number nerd.

      On paper, I liked what I saw as well and jumped before it was gone.

      With the way it’s made, and the un choked thimbled barrel, it has good bones and potential

      I have spent more on guns I have liked less…s

      Ian

  3. Thanks Ian!

    Wood and metal PCP for a reasonable price; regulated, sidelever with two mags, 3000 psi fill… sounding real good!

    An externally adjustable reg is nice but not a big deal as once you find the setting you want it stays there.

    Nice feature set, looking forward to seeing how the Aircuda performs.

    Hank

  4. Hello-

    First off, thank you to Ian for, A) being an early adopter, and B) once more giving us one of your well written blogs. Salute!

    As I look at the gun, I have a couple comments. Yes, the stock is made of wood, but it’s just pallet wood. Manufacturers seem to think that a cheap utilitarian grade of wood is something special. In reality, it’s just easily available in quantity and serves the purpose of being shaped easily with the tools available.

    Next is the stock’s form. I’m neither for nor against pistol grip rifles. This one looks useful in that it places the firing hand at a good position to the trigger. Good work should be able to be done. However, I look at the thin cross sections of the grip, the lower strap (web) and upper strap at the rear where it intersects the adjustable cheek cutout. All of these would constitute short grain areas that are inherently weaker. Add a scope and we’re looking at a 9-10 lb unit. Everyone trie to be careful but mishaps happen and gravity can be cruel. Frankly, I think the thumbhole form is better served by making them of laminate or polymer.

    Moving on

    • Interesting point about the low quality of the wood and the weak area of the thumbhole shape.

      It reminds me of my Diana 75 that came with a crack that went all the way round and through the grip and yet the stock did not fall apart. I discovered a wooden dowel inside that kept it loosely together.

      Even a sporter style stock has a weak grip area.. 🙂

      • hi3-

        Maybe I’m being overly critical of the JTS wood offerings. The birch (or whatever Chinese equivalent used) is fine for the purpose of gun stocks. Over the years I’ve grown tired of the marketing of lesser woods on guns. Used to be ‘walnut stained American hardwood’ attempting to trade on the traditional walnut stock. Then they dropped the ‘walnut stained’. Then ‘American’ as the race for cheaper supplies progressed, but hey, it was still a hardwood. Nowadays it’s just wood and metal. But which wood and which metal?

        • Personally I like the idea of wooden items made of plastic, but only if they’re convincingly well done. 🙂

          My Umarex Legends Lever Action airgun has a wooden stock that, amazingly, is made of plastic.
          Also I have noticed some wooden park benches and picnic tables that, on very close inspection, appear to be made of plastic.

          Unfortunately I believe that all plastics will eventually go brittle, ie in 10, 20 or however many years’ time, my plastic guns will all go the way of bakelite in that they’ll crumble to pieces, leaving the cared for wooden versions. 🙂

        • For the price point I can look past the type of wood being used.

          And if it cracked in pieces I think I can fix it, or I have a woodworking friend that is good with tools.

          For an air arms price , you are paying for the Minnelli stock.
          Even if it is a hardwood.

    • I know it is to each his own, but I must humbly disagree. I myself like the not so shiny stocks with a not quite so smooth feel. Maybe rub a little Balistol into the wood to help protect it.

      • Many years ago when I became obsessed with Finnish firearms discovered Finnish stock wax. One third Linseed oil,one third Mineral spirits and one third Beeswax. I started making my own. The one/third wax leaves an open grain so you can “feel” the stock yet makes it waterproof and conditions it. All my wooden rifle stocks save but a few feature this wax now. Down here in Galveston county when shooting in what we call Summer(3/4 of the year) sweat is a factor and slick stocks will cause a slip. Not trying to change anyone’s minds. Ballistol complements the Finn mix and it is usually all my stocks get for maintenance after the first application of Finn mix. Ballistol soaked rags live in zip lock bags in my safes,work shop and various other spots around my place, it is indispensable.

        • My experience with “new” wood stocks is very limited. Having the maintenance product soaking into the wood I have found to be very favorable. Here in the Appalachians, it is very humid this time of year and I hate sweating all over a nice piece of wood. The wax compound you speak of may be a very good answer to a lot of issues that arise. Personally, I am not a big fan of polyed stocks as they tend to be slick and shiny. I hate the feel of that.

  5. I was very glad to see this guest blog review. I have a good friend waiting on one of these. I was excited about it when I first heard about it but I have read of “some serious quality control issues from the chinese factory”. That turned me off for sure, so it’s nice to hear that may have been propaganda?? I am wood and metal dinosaur too 90% of the time.

    I will be watching this one with a lot of interest, not for myself but for my Bud, hoping he gets a good one!

    • Bob,

      Remember, this is a preproduction air rifle. Will the production air rifles be made to the same quality? Unfortunately, that is frequently not the case. Buy from someone who will allow returns, like PA.

  6. Ian,

    You sound like a marketeer for the company. I sure hope you are on commission?
    You do not mention where the guns are assembled and the parts made. Yes headquarters may be in TX.
    They do look nice….

    -Y

    PS see if you can borrow B.B.’s Meopta scope for the 50 yard test.

    • Nope I am not a marketeer for them, and they do not send me guns to test.

      In fact I have never met the head of JTS, but am familiar with him because of both of our long standing membership with the Gateway to airguns forum.

      I call it like I see it. , and for this price point we would never find a gun built like this made in the USA.

      I gave praise to the Avenger series when they came out, because the gun is an accurate gun at an exceptional price and valve for the money.

      When this comes to market and if JTS can keep up with the demand it has the potential to be a big hit.

      It’s a first generation so there will surely be some growing pains as the input form owners come in, but it is a solid foundation on which to build a brand.

  7. Bill, from almost a fortnight ago (blog titled “Pop quiz”, 19th July, 2022), I have today sampled a couple of the recommendations. I bought two bottles of the Dutch beer, La Trappe Trappist, of which I much preferred the yellow one (the brown will go down the sink as it’s too ‘something’ and bitter for my taste).

    By the way, Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier), I haven’t forgotten your recipe for Edie’s Ice Cream. I am supposedly in the land of wine and cheese (France), and yet I find myself struggling to find any cottage cheese. I’ve seen it here before, so I’ll continue looking… 🙂

      • Yes, I too, think of cottage cheese as English.

        Back in England, I would sometimes treat myself to a tub of cottage cheese with chives, or even better, pineapple, and gobble the lot in one go.
        As well as a First Aid Kit and Warning Triangle, I carry an Emergency Spoon in the car! 🙂

      • B.B.,
        Cottage Cheese is said to be of of American origin and considered the first American Cheese. Curds and Whey are what the English have but much older of a process..
        Curds and Whey are the first step in making a semisoft or hard cheese. Cottage cheese was made in young ruminants stomachs/intestine using the leftovers from butter churning.
        Curds and Whey is similar, but much older use of milk where the Cream has been skimmed off (Skimmed Milk,) until you press the curds to get rid of the (Whey) liquid.

        Shootski

  8. Ian,

    The silencer stack looks like a plastic and that would mahe more sense to me than using metal?
    I also don’t like the look of the trigger (subjective) shape; specifically the trigger to finger contact surface. The bevel is for what? The bevel would also appear to make a trigger shoe more difficult to install.
    You might also share the purpose of the barrel thimble; i don’t think many blog readers will know what it is or what it does or as some say doesn’t do. Why the design of the air transfer path makes a barrel thimble needed or not needed.
    I hope the barrel precision is good and that you have a real shooter on your hands!.
    Looking forward to the continuing test you do on your .25 caliber.

    shootski

  9. Ian,

    Nice report on a good looking rifle Pyramyd Air is reporting it as available in late September.

    Looking forward to your blogs going forward with this item, I like the looks on both versions but the tests will tell the tale. I am thinking this is a shooter and a good one, will the production model match what you have? I hope so.

    Mike

  10. I talked to the factory rep in Houston, rifles are still at the factory, cost of shipping is so high they are waiting for it to go down before shipping…..could be months…

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