In our continuing series, we take a look at the work of leading airgun manufacturer, Air Arms, and their range of products.
Air Arms are a producer of high quality air rifles, in both Pre Charged Pneumatic, and Spring powered action types. They export their rifles all over the world, and their airguns are used by hunters and target shooters with huge success, for example at last year’s 2015 World Hunter Field Target Championships.
Origins: Sussex Armoury & NSP Engineering
The company that we know today as Air Arms has an interesting history and company set up. Back in the 1980s there was a company called Sussex Armoury who produced a number of different airguns such as the Jackal Woodsman, and a number of components for that rifle and many others were produced by a local engineering company called NSP Engineering. The Sussex Armoury company then folded in the early 80s, and one of the original three owners of the NSP Engineering, Bob Nicholls, took over NSP.
Air Arms as we know it was born when he then decided to carry on and begin producing his own range of air rifles gained from the knowledge of the sub contract work gained by Sussex Armoury. These were sold under this new brand name, and all of the components were built and assembled at their facility in Sussex.
NSP Engineering still continued to produce Air Arms rifles as well as carrying out sub contract work up until the 90s, until they decided to concentrate on the production of Air Arms and move away from sub contract work. From this point onwards NSP Engineering and the brand of Air Arms has increased dramatically with their rifles now used all over the world, and today Air Arms continue to pioneer the airgun business using the latest in production techniques to produce high quality and technically advanced products.
Cutting Edge Technology
Air Arms use CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines which cut out the metal of solid blocks of material in specific places to produce the components for their rifles. This process is very precise, and as they are produced from one piece of metal the strength is immense. Air Arms also polish all their components on site with polishing machines to achieve a mirror like shine, which is then chemically blued off site to achieve the deep blued finish that Air Arms rifles are renowned for. The stocks are made by Minelli in Italy, of which most gun manufacturers use today to ensure a very high quality finish as well as conformity across the range.
PCP & Hunting Rifles
Air Arms’ range of rifles range from hunting rifles such as the TX200 and S410, right up to the out and out target shooting rifles such as the FTP-900 and MPR Precision. Air Arms have a rifle for almost everyone’s requirements and use, and being based in the UK their production time scale and customer service is absolutely superb.
One of their top selling ranges of rifles has to be the S400 and Air Arms S410 PCP air rifles which are tried, tested, and trusted and have been for many years. The S400 is a single shot action, and the S410 has a 10 shot multi shot magazine, hence the ‘10’ in the name. This naming format follows throughout their range. The beauty of the S400 range is they are elegant, very good looking, reliable, and incredibly accurate. The S400 was first introduced in 2000 and has been a massive hit since then. There haven’t been too many changes over the years, apart from in 2010 when a range of superlite stocks were introduced, and some slight aesthetic changes were made to a few parts. A lot of shooters use this rifle for hunting as well as target shooting as it is fitted with a Lothar Walther barrel, as many of the Air Arms rifles are, so accuracy is immense and with a choice of Standard or Carbine lengths there is a model to suit anyone. If you’re looking for a quality PCP that will last you for many years to come, I highly recommend either the S400, or S410. Check out the range of them on our site here…
A slightly improved model based on the S410 series was brought out in 2008 which used a lot of the same components such as the air cylinder, but utilized a side lever action instead of a standard bolt action. This rifle is the S510 and the sidelever action is a lot smoother and positive compared to a bolt and really makes a difference when out hunting as sometimes a quick follow up shot is essential.
Spring Powered Rifles
As well as these hunting orientated PCP rifles, Air Arms produce some great springers which are the TX200 which is available as the standard rifle model and a HC (Hunter Carbine) length, and the Air Arms Pro Sport. The TX200 is a standard underlever action which is available in either a Beech or Walnut stock, and the Pro-Sport is also an Underlever, but not in the traditional sense. Air Arms have been very clever and incorporated the underlever into the stock, which keeps the balance right where it should be unlike many other underlevers where the additional weight at the front unbalances it.
The internals of these rifles run on synthetic bearing material which is normally only found on a tuned spring rifle which makes these rifles shoot like a tuned rifle straight from the box. Here at Pellpax we had a Pro-Sport than had come back from a service from Air Arms which was about 2 months old, and it had been chronographed before it was returned, and over a 10 shot string the FPS spread was just 2 FPS! This just goes to show how well made they are and what sort of results they can deliver.
Of course there is Air Arms’ range of superb target rifles which start with the MPR which all come with Dioptre sights as standard making them aimed towards 10 meter target shooting. These rifles are used by numerous target organizations such as Bisley and the Army all over the UK and Europe to train and compete in competitions thanks to their uncluttered format and reliability. The range then goes up to the HFT-500 which has a multi adjustable laminate stock, which can also be fitted with a hamster/palm rest which is sold separately. The HFT500 has a single shot action with the same side lever which is found on the S510 series. The barrel is a match grade Lothar Walther barrel with a larger air cylinder to increase the shot count.
The pinnacle of the range though is the FTP-900 which features a full adjustable laminate stock which is finished in a luxurious clear lacquer to really accentuate the full colours of the stock. You can tell the FTP900 is designed for competition as it has a windicator arm, a spirit level, air stripper, and palm rest and butt hook all incorporated as standard. Since its release a few years ago it has been a massive hit in multiple competitions around the globe and isn’t being beaten by much at the moment!
Air Arms produce some lovely rifles for all different angles of the Airgun market, and have just released their latest rifle, the Air Arms Galahad, a Bullpup which you can read about on our blog here.
If you are looking for a higher end springer or PCP, or a rifle for target shooting then I highly recommend that you consider Air Arms, as I assure you that you will not be disappointed.