Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo
Air Rifle Test Review .22 Cal
28 Feb 2015
Supplied by Pyramyd Air
Just about everything!
Doesn't like pellets that don't drop into the magazine.
|HAM Test Rating||93%|
|Value For Money||Expensive but gorgeous.|
|Best For||Hunting varmints and small game. Could double for FT shoots.|
|Best Pellet Tested||H&N Field Target Trophy|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$1588|
Easy to Shoot
VALUE FOR MONEY
At a selling price of $1,588.47, the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Premium Bundle tested by HAM is not cheap.
Of course, there are many different interpretations of the words “Value for Money”. If value for money is interpreted as “the most Bang for the Buck”, the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Premium Bundle tested by HAM doesn’t stand a chance.
But if value for money is seen as being the price paid for a thing of beauty and perfection that will give the owner joy in use and pride of ownership for ever, the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo is clearly outstanding value for money.
Most buyers of the S510 will take the latter view and so this HAM rating is given in that light.
As HAM tester Doug Rogers wrote in his testing notes, “It’s very hard to find any faults with the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo. This gun spoils you for going back to ones you own”. He also added “Boy, if this gun was in .177 caliber, I’d buy it in a heartbeat for my own Field Target shooting!”. The others in the HAM test team agree: we think you will, too.
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SPEED AND ACCURACY
The Air Arms S510 is not designed to give super-high muzzle velocities. It delivers solid, practical muzzle velocities in the 950 – 1000 FPS range in .22 caliber with the vast majority of pellets, combined with great accuracy with mid-weight and heavy pellets. This is a combination that will find favor with knowledgeable, experienced airgun shooters who understand that “all out” highest muzzle velocity alone is not the most important criterion for great practical shooting.
Muzzle energy with the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo tested in .22 caliber increased with pellet weight, as you would expect for a PCP air rifle. With pellets above 14.3 Grains weight, muzzle energy is consistent in the 29 – 30 Ft/Lb range. This is good for hunting pests and small game, which is an ideal use for the S510 in .22 caliber.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||1104.23 FPS||26.28 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 14.66 Grain||1086.18 FPS||26.28 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||1019.13 FPS||27.45 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||954.17 FPS||28.91 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||954.93 FPS||29.06 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||952.39 FPS||29.53 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||803.41 FPS||30.30 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
As you’ll see from the test targets below, accuracy was outstanding with all the heavier pellets in the standard HAM test range. But the lighter RWS Hobby and H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets gave poor groups. HAM tester Doug Rogers noted that if the pellets dropped easily into the magazine when loading, they shot well. If the pellets needed to be pushed in – as was the case with the Hobbys, FTT Green and one Gamo Platinum PBA pellet, shot 9 – then accuracy suffered.
Realistically, it’s very unlikely that any purchaser of the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo will expect to use any other than mid-weight or heavy pellets. And, as the test target for the Gamo Platinum PBA pellets shows, if lighter pellets drop easily into the magazine, the S510 will shoot them well, too, if required.
So, the HAM test finds that it’s easy to know if a pellet will shoot accurately in the S510, simply by observing how it fits into the magazine. This is a very useful feature that enables the shooter to be sure of the accuracy before pulling the trigger.
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H&N Field Target Trophy .177 Cal, 8.64 Grains, Domed, 500ct
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
Average trigger pull weight for the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo tested by HAM was 1 lb 11 oz.
Note that – as always in HAM testing – this applies to the gun as it is “out of the box”. We don’t adjust the trigger even though it’s easy to do in many cases, such as with the S510.
The S510’s trigger gives an effortless first stage and a very clear, precise “glass-like” break with the second stage. HAM tester Doug Rogers described it as “one of the nicest triggers I’ve ever used”. Doug, we’re with you!
The manual safety is located in the trigger itself. It has a push across action that solidly blocks trigger travel. If we’re being picky, the safety is very small and it’s fiddly to operate until you’re used to it.
Cocking is butter-smooth and satisfying, courtesy of the sidelever action. Cocking effort on the S510 tested by HAM was just 7 lb 11 oz. This action is just a pleasure to use!
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Interestingly, few claims are made for the US-specification Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight air rifle by the US importers, Air Venturi. The primary ones are that it will give a muzzle velocity of 920 FPS in .22 caliber and that the muzzle energy is 30 Ft/Lbs.
In HAM’s testing, the S510 easily exceeded the muzzle velocity claim with all but the heaviest – 21.14 Grain – H&N Baracuda Match pellets. It also exceeded the muzzle energy claim with those same Baracudas.
Here, for once, is an air rifle that could stand some more marketing claims!
The Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo delivered very consistent results.
If used with the appropriate pellets – see the Speed and Accuracy section above – the 510 gave very consistent accuracy, as is shown by the test targets. Steer clear of tight-fitting pellets as these caused the only real break from outstanding consistency in HAM’s testing.
The average Standard Deviation (variation in FPS between shots) averaged 8.62 FPS across the suite of standard HAM test pellets. HAM has tested airguns with better Standard Deviations, but the variability here was not great and clearly had no impact on the outstanding accuracy.
Consistency of trigger pull was consistent as well as light, with a minimum pull of 1 lb 9 oz and a maximum of 1 lb 11 oz in HAM testing. That’s outstanding!
The Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight air rifle has a shrouded barrel that is effective at reducing the report when fired.
Subjectively, the HAM testers feel that this is a quiet air rifle that’s entirely suitable for use where noise is a concern. But it’s not as whisper-quiet as, say, the Benjamin Marauder that’s regarded by HAM as the “gold standard” for quiet shooting.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight is a scope only air rifle. So, the BKL 300 MB rings and Aeon 8 – 32 x 50 Classic scope included in this Pyramyd Air combo are essential parts of the overall package.
HAM testers agreed that the Aeon scope gave a beautiful image. Eye relief was good and the image bright. Sharp and clear, it was easy to focus and good for rangefinding – an essential for hunting and Field Target use. The side wheel was smooth and precise in action – it would undoubtedly be even better fitted with the optional accessory Aeon Side Focus Wheel.
As regular readers will know, HAM testers all agree that an air rifle scope must have AO (Adjustable Objective) combined with a very fine mil dot reticle. The etched glass reticle found on this scope is superior to the wire reticle found on many scopes and enables a very fine reticle pattern.
The Aeon 8 – 32 x 50 Classic scope is a dedicated Field target model and has a complex “Christmas Tree” reticle with fine, 1/4 MOA mil dots (1/2 MOA is standard on many scopes) with no less than 7 horizontal cross hairs, as you can see below. This complex reticle is specifically designed for easy and accurate holdover when shooting in Field Target competition.
This reticle is perfect for en experienced and knowledgeable air rifle shooter who is prepared to put in the necessary time and effort to learn how to use it to best effect. But then that’s just the type of shooter who will buy the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Premium Bundle in the first place.
Although scope rings are often taken pretty much for granted, it was clear to the HAM team that the BKL-300MB rings supplied in this bundle are a clear cut above most scope rings. HAM tester Doug Rogers found them easy and precise to fit, with a definite feel of quality. The auto-centering clamp legs help here as they move equally as the clamping screw is tightened. Most other scope rings clamp tight with movement on one side only, with a tendency to warping as the clamping screws are tightened.
HAM testers found the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo to be lighter than it looks – I guess that’s the reason for the “Superlight” part of the name! On the scales the complete S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo tested by HAM weighed-in at just 8 lbs 14 oz.
HAM testers found that the S510 was very comfortable to shoot, it was easy to bring up to aim and the ambidextrous stock design gave excellent cheek weld and hold for both left- and right-handed testers. The design of this air rifle makes it easy to hold consistently – a big part of repeatable accuracy in the field – and this was combined with the excellent balance of the scope and rings supplied in the tested bundle.
The stock design is largely responsible for this consistent hold, with its thin wrist, comfortable comb and carefully-curved forend. It just makes it so easy for the shooter to adopt a consistent, comfortable hold!
The S510’s 10-shot clip (or “magazine”) was easy to load and foolproof in operation. There were no jams or misfeeds during the HAM testing.
The side wheel AO focusing and mil-dot reticle of the Aeon 8 – 32 x 50 scope made it easy to adjust for accurate shooting on targets at different distances. Although not included with the tested combo, the addition of the 3 1/2-inch Aeon Side Focus Wheel would make rapid and precise focusing even easier and would be mandatory for Field Target use.
It’s clear that the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo in .177 caliber and with the Side Focus Wheel would be an outstanding tool for Field Target shooting.
The only drawback HAM could find in this category was the small safety that’s fiddly to operate.
Overall, this is a very easy air rifle to shoot well, as is confirmed by its outstanding RateAGun score of just 3.1.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The appearance and finish of the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo tested by HAM was beyond reproach. Everything about this gun gives the appearance of deep, yet understated quality.
This air rifle is simply beautiful. HAM tested Doug Rogers described the S510 as “the nicest looking air rifle I’ve ever seen” and the other members of the test team agreed.
Stock design is elegant and flawlessly finished, with beautiful curves and fine checkering. The poplar wood is attractively-figured but not too flashy.
Metal parts are entirely devoid on machine marks and finished to perfection. The depth of bluing and mirror finish of the air tube, in particular, has to be seen to be believed.
The BKL 300 MB rings and Aeon 8 – 32 x 50 Classic scope included in this Pyramyd Air combo were also beautifully finished and a good match to the quality of the air rifle.
The only improvement the HAM testers could suggest – and we were really trying hard! – is that a set of sling swivels be factory installed on the gun. This would obviously make for easier carrying in the field. Could the owner do this him self (or herself)? yes, of course, but the quality and cost of the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo makes us shake at the thought of even approaching this gun with the sharp tools necessary to make the installation ourselves.
BUYING AND OWNING
It’s easy to find the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight for sale online, at Pyramyd Air and some other specialist dealers. But don’t expect to walk into any “big box” sporting goods store and fine one. This means that most S510 buyers will not have had the chance to actually see and hold this air rifle before they buy it – unless, that is, they know someone who already owns one of these gems.
Air Arms guns sold in the USA carry a lifetime limited warranty provided by the importers, Air Venturi.
The owner’s manual for the S510 is very comprehensive, well-illustrated and well-written. It’s waaaaay ahead of many owner’s manuals supplied with many other air rifles!
The low power setting makes a significant reduction in muzzle velocity, with no reduction in accuracy – as is shown by the final test target. The reduction to 580 FPS from 954 FPS with JSB Jumbo Exact pellets brought the muzzle energy down to just 10.73 Ft/Lbs, making the low power setting ideal for indoor practice shooting when the weather’s too bad to shoot outdoors.
The power adjuster turns by hand and has detents just for maximum and minimum power. For HAM, that makes this a “two power” gun, as it would not be possible to repeatably select an intermediate power setting. But realistically that’s not a big issue, we feel.
Are there any downsides? Yes. But we’re struggling a little…
As mentioned above, HAM would like to see factory fitted sling swivels for safer carrying in the field.
The S510 is filled by using a dedicated probe. It requires a special adapter to hook up to the 1/8-inch NPT Foster-type quick disconnect that’s typical in the US for PCP airguns, but this is a one-time issue that’s easily resolved at purchase.
And US shooters will need to learn to use the SI Unit of measurement for pressure – Bar – as this is how the S-510’s pressure gauge is calibrated. 200 Bar, the maximum fill pressure for the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Combo is 2,900 PSI.
In comparison to the owner’s manual for the gun itself, that supplied with the Aeon scope is very poor. It’s just a cheap generic sheet that’s worse than some documentation supplied with $30 scopes (Leapers springs to mind here as being much better). Yes, buyers of the Air Arms S510 Extra FAC Superlight Premium Bundle probably already know very well how to use this scope, but this sheet is not a good compliment to the otherwise excellent quality of the scope.
And the BKL rings give no torque specifications for tightening the clamping screws. This is an unusual omission considering their precision.
Just don’t forget to have plenty of high pressure air available, preferably from a tank – you’re going to want to shoot this air rifle a lot!
LOW POWER TEST TARGET
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