In a recurring feature, this month Joe Meakin focuses in on the work of Staffordshire prestige gunmakers, Daystate…
Daystate are a great British success story. Alongside great manufacturers like Air Arms and BSA, they continue to produce airguns which are the envy of the world. The main focus of the company is high quality PCP (Pre Charged Pneumatic) airguns along with a range of accessories to suit. This is premium quality product, and it’s reflected in the pricing. The price range of Daystate air rifles starts from around £800 and goes up to around £2000, but you can be assured the rifles are worth every penny that you pay for them as the accuracy and attention to detail are superb.
The origins of Daystate date back to 1978 when the company was formed to produce air powered tranquilliser guns for pest control purposes which sold fairly well. The company’s big break came about in 1980 when they were approached by the well-known pest control company Rentokil, who asked them to produce a small-bore air rifle that they could use for pest control purposes in their business. This rifle was called the Huntsman, and the name is still being used on a rifle today, the Huntsman Regal. This model back in the 1980s produced 40 ft/lbs in .22 calibre which was perfect for Rentokil’s uses.
Daystate also sold a detuned, 12 ft/lbs version of the same rifle to the general public and it enjoyed a long production run thanks to its solid production and accuracy. Many airgun experts credit this rifle as the Father of all modern PCP rifles that we know today as prior to this most air rifles were powered by spring.
Shooters of course quickly realized that the PCP action had little to no recoil meaning that they were able to produce much better accuracy with these rifles. Around this time Field Target shooting was gaining in popularity and shooters quickly adopted the PCP power plant as their favoured action. The Huntsman was used by many shooters in these competitions for years, but it was one of the heaviest rifles around, but Daystate introduced a new range which included the CR94. These were dedicated to Field Target shooters, and these rifles quickly started taking the trophies at competitions which assured Daystates position in the airgun market solidly.
Modern Day Production
Since then the company has produced numerous air rifles, both mechanical and electronic controlled air rifles such as the MK3, MK4 and, more recently, the Pulsar which are fantastically advanced air guns which maximise efficiency and consistency from each fill. Daystate have pioneered electronic controlled air rifle actions with their CDT (Capacitor Discharge Technology) and MCT (Map Compensated Technology) which are, essentially, very effective electronic actions.
The use of an electronic action means that the lock time from when you pull the trigger to the time the pellet leaves the barrel is shortened considerably. This reduces the chance of you pulling the shot off target once you have pulled the trigger, and the trigger weight is far less than is achievable on a mechanical rifle.
The rifle which features all this high tech technology today is the Daystate Pulsar which is available in a choice of stocks such as Forest Laminate and Synthetic. The electronic system has been improved from its predecessor, the MK4, in that all the electronics are encased in a waterproof case, making it truly waterproof. The electronics also operate off standard batteries, and not a special rechargeable one which previous rifles were.
The Pulsar is a Bullpup rifle which reduces the overall length whilst still retaining a full length barrel and cylinder for great performance and shot count figures in a manoeuvrable and compact package that is perfect for target shooters and hunters. A nice feature of the Pulsar, and probably my favourite, is probably, is the laser which is built-in. It activates only when the rifle is cocked and the safety is disabled, and really helps with both target acquisition, and range-finding when used with a scope.
A new rifle that is now being released is the Daystate Renegade which is based on the same frame as the Pulsar, but it has a mechanical action, and comes in at a lower price point. This model doesn’t have a laser as the Pulsar does, and has an electronic trigger which releases the mechanical sear at the rear of the rifle, to save linkages between the trigger and the back of the rifle, which is often a failing point for most bullpups.
The Huntsman Regal is their entry level rifle in their range, but is one of the finest handling, and performing rifles that I have ever used. The whole rifle is very sleek and sophisticated in the appearance, and this continues right through the whole rifle.
The unique feature of the Huntsman Regal is that the action is embedded deeper into the stock compared to other PCP rifles, which makes it feel more like a traditional hunting rifle, and balances out beautifully when brought up to the shoulder. As with all Daystate air rifles, the Huntsman Regal uses the 10 shot magazine which has been tried and tested over the years and is very simple and easy to use, and minimises any jams when loading the rifle. This is essential in a rifle, particularly when out hunting, as a jam could mean a missed shot.
The Daystate Wolverine range is in the middle of their line up, and these rifles are designed for tough hunting situations where the best is required. Daystate have made these rifles incredibly strong and hard wearing by starting off with a one piece, CNC machined breech block to which different parts such as the bolt, barrel, and cylinder and secured. This makes every aspect of the rifle which is attached to this block very sturdy which minimises any shift in zero, as well as tack driving accuracy shot after shot.
The Wolverine is available in with either a Steel 400c cylinder, or a Carbon Fibre 480cc cylinder. Both models have the same high grade Walnut stock and a shrouded barrel which makes it a delight to hold and shoot, and whisper quiet when out shooting.
All of these rifles are available in both sub 12 ft/lbs configuration, as well as FAC power levels for those who have an FAC and the allowance for one. Even in 12 ft/lbs these are great pest control and hunting rifles and are built to last from the finest of materials that are available today which you can instantly tell when you pick one up.