Fast-Firing Air Rifles – Part Two
HAM Publisher Stephen Archer concludes his thoughts on the latest PCP trend: fast-firing air rifles. In part one he covered finger power and electrically-operated cocking mechanisms. Now he moves on to air-operated fast-firing air rifles.
Can We Use Wasted Air?
Logically, using High Pressure Air has to be an obvious way to operate a fast-firing PCP action. The big issue is how to use it effectively and not “waste” the air through reducing the shot count or power.
In this respect, some fast-firing PCP air rifle developments are following in the steps of some military rifles from the 1930s.
Why not use catch some of that air pressure that has already propelled the pellet out of the barrel to load the next one?
The firearms historians amongst us may remember the “Gas Trap Garand” and Mauser Gewehr 41 – among others – as early examples of this type of action where the reloading action was derived from pressure remaining near the front of the barrel after the projectile had moved on.
That didn’t turn-out to be the long-term solution for firearms and my guess is that it will not be for PCP air rifles either. (Although, that is how the FX Revolution and some Hatsan fast-firing air rifles operate).
Other Air-Operated Actions.
Kral may have had the Re-Volt at the 2019 IWA Show, but they had another string to their bow.
The unusually-named Puncher Ekinoks PCP was another fast-firing air rifle being shown on their booth and this uses air to cycle the action. There’s a straight-pull sidelever to cock the action for the first shot, as you would expect.
Of course, the Steyr Hunting 5 is a fast-firing PCP air rifle that’s been available for some time. The basic action is also used in the new 10-shot Pro X bullpup that was unveiled at the 2019 IWA show. Here, also, there’s a side lever for cocking the first shot. Below.
Huben is a Hong Kong-based manufacturer that has had a powerful, fast-firing PCP air rifle available in the US market for some time.
The Huben K1 generates around 80 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy in .22 caliber. It’s regulated, of course, and has a built-in rotary magazine holding 19 pellets – or slugs. It’s a favorite with long-range hunters, plinkers and sports shooters in the USA.
There’s also additional interest in this innovative model due to its hammerless action. (How does it actually work? That’s a question for another article, sometime).
And there were more fast-firing air rifles at the IWA Show. Chinese OEM manufacturer Snowpeak had one, too, so you have to know they think there’s a market opportunity here.
The Future Is Here.
So will fast-firing air rifles dominate the PCP airgun world?
I don’t think so – at least not yet. But wait for $300 regulated, silenced, accurate, powerful, fast-firing air rifles to arrive and the result is likely to be a huge switch in demand.
Remember how the Umarex Gauntlet revolutionized the regulated, silenced, multi-shot PCP air rifle market? My guess is that something similar will happen before too long with fast-firing air rifles. I just don’t know when and who will do it.
It will take several years to get here, but – trust me – it will be coming. In the meantime, my opinion is that any airgun manufacturer that’s serious about the US market and isn’t at least thinking about fast-firing air rifles in their PCP range is missing the boat!