Pneumatic Pnews

Monday, April 03, 2006

Try the BIG guns from AirForce

by Tex Force

When we looked at the three types of airgun powerplants blog, we learned that the precharged pneumatic or PCP is the oldest type of airgun of all. They were difficult to fill and to operate when charged, but they were a wonder for their time! Today's PCPs are modern, powerful, accurate and easy to use. So easy to shoot, in fact, that they are considered the most accurate airguns of all.

AirForce Airguns made in the USA!
Most PCPs are made in Europe, with a few examples made in Asia, but one very unique brand - AirForce Airguns - is made in Ft. Worth, Texas. They make three rifles, the Talon, Talon SS and the Condor. Each rifle has some characteristics that set it apart from the others, but all three share some common features, as well.

What's common to all AirForce air rifles?
To start with, all AirForce rifles have precision barrels made by the Germany's Lothar Walther. This firm has earned a reputation as one of the top airgun barrel makers in the world. The barrels AirForce uses are all choked at the muzzle for maximum accuracy potential, so you get equal accuracy from their 12", 18" and 24" barrels. And, this is a huge plus for an AirForce airgun - all rifles allow quick barrel changes! Because the guns come in both .177 and .22 caliber, this means you can buy just one gun and have it in both calibers, plus any optional barrel length you choose.

Another thing common to AirForce guns is an external power adjustment wheel on the left side of the frame. Other PCPs may be adjustable, but many of them require you to take the action out of the stock to make adjustments. AirForce expects you to adjust their rifles, so they put the wheel in a convenient place.

The power adjustment wheel on all AirForce airguns makes it easy to adapt the rifle to your shooting style.

The other things that are common to all guns are an amazing amount of 11mm accessory attachment points located all over the gun. The air tanks are huge 490cc removable reservoirs that hold more air than nearly all other PCPs. That gives you more shots on one fill of air. Because the air tank comes off, all AirForce rifles break down to very small packages for transport. Since they are made from aluminum extrusions, all three rifles are incredibly light - often several pounds less than their European competition.

Let's look at the rifles individually.

Like an eagle's talon, the Talon from AirForce (first rifle on the page) is powerful, quick and light. It's also their least expensive model. Being the cheapest often means something lacks features, but the Talon has everything the Talon SS has except sound reduction. In fact, the 18' barrelled Talon is slightly more powerful than the SS, so there's a benefit for the loss of sound reduction. In .22 caliber, the Talon will launch a medium-weight pellet at speeds of 900 to 950 f.p.s. In .177 it will go up to 1,100 f.p.s., which is too fast for best accuracy, but you can use heavier pellets to keep the speed down in the 900s. Remember, the gun has adjustable power, so it's easy to get the speed exactly where you want it.

Talon SS
The Talon SS (second rifle down on the page) is the rifle for the suburbs. The 12" barrel is hidden inside the tubular frame, so the muzzle blast is muted when you shoot. A powerful shot that generates about the same force as the Webley Patriot magnum spring rifle (first rifle on page) sounds about as loud as a loud hand clap. In .22 caliber on high power, the Talon SS generates 810 to 850 f.p.s. with medium-weight pellets, while in .177 with medium-weight pellets it increases to around 950 to 1,000 f.p.s. The low-end adjustability of the SS isn't quite as stable as the low end on the Talon, but speeds in the 600 f.p.s. range are possible in .22 caliber.

The Condor (third rifle down on the page) is a special air rifle. Although it looks a lot like the other two, it is the world's most powerful smallbore air rifle, generating a string of shots in excess of 60 foot-pounds. At the muzzle, the Condor is as powerful as a .22 rimfire shooting the standard speed short cartridge! Put another way, it is the only smallbore (.177, .20, .22 and .25 calibers) air rifle that will reliably shoot through a 2x4 in either caliber! Because of its high power, the Condor is noisy. It's just as loud as a .22 rimfire. You can dial the power way down, though. When it shoots with the same power as an SS, it's only a little louder than the quiet SS with its special technology. The 24" barrel of the Condor extracts all the energy from the compressed air charge, so you get wonderful adjustability - from a high in excess of 1,200 f.p.s. with a .22-caliber medium weight pellet to a low in the 600s.

Interchangable barrels means flexibility
Because the owner can change the barrel (fifth, sixth and seventh from the bottom) of an AirForce rifle, it can become more than just a single airgun. A Talon SS, for example, is the most popular model. With an optional 18" barrel installed, the SS develops the same power as the Talon. With the optional 24" barrel, the SS develops two-thirds the power of a Condor! All from a simple five-minute barrel change!

.177 or .22?
By far, .22 caliber is preferred over .177. AirForce rifles are so powerful that they take full advantage of the larger caliber. But the option to switch barrels at any time means an owner can have both calibers in one airgun. No longer is it necessary to make a choice.

AirForce rifles are probably the smartest buy for first-time PCPs buyers. American-made, they are fully supported by the factory in Ft. Worth. They come with both a printed owner's manual as well as a one-hour instructional DVD that shows you all operations of the guns. This is the only "systems" air rifle on the market, and a great choice for hunters and general shooters, alike.


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