Ataman BP17 Air Rifle .22 Caliber Test Review
April 18, 2019
Supplied by Pyramyd Air
Looks and handling.
Accuracy with the right pellets.
Small magazine capacity.
High fill pressure.
Only a one year warranty.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Ataman BP17 air rifle is described by the manufacturer as a “micro bullpup”. That’s a good definition as it’s obviously a bullpup and definitely much smaller than most other PCPs out there.
Although it’s been a long time coming – the Ataman BP17 air rifle has been seen before as a prototype in HAM as far back as the 2017 IWA Show – it still looks futuristic and highly individual.
So, there’s few direct competitors to this PCP air rifle. Maybe none in terms of design. At any event, we have a high quality, compact, accurate and powerful .22 caliber air rifle which would be ideal for backpacking or as a truck gun.
The HAM Team will guess that the majority of Ataman BP17 air rifles will be used for hunting and paired with a quality scope.
The US selling price is $1,400, less one cent. With any sort of suitable riflescope, a complete BP17 rig will have cost its proud owner $2,000.
Does it represent good value at this price? For many people who are prepared to spend this sort of money on an air rifle, the answer is probably “yes”. It’s unique, the design has an indefinable “something” and it works well. The HAM Team loved it!
|HAM Test Rating||93%|
|Value For Money||Fantastic handling. There's nothing else like it!|
|Best For||Hunting small game, plinking.|
|Best Pellet Tested||H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$1,499 + scope|
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Ataman BP17 Soft-Touch .22 Air Rifle, Black
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Ataman BP17 PCP Air Rifle
SPEED AND ACCURACY
The highest Muzzle Velocity achieved by the Ataman BP17 air rifle tested by HAM was 974.91 FPS using ultra-light Gamo Raptor alloy pellets. 895.20 FPS was the best achieved with lead pellets, using 11.9 Grain RWS Hobbys. This is in .22 caliber.
However, as usual, the highest FPS was not accompanied by the best accuracy. Nor was the greatest Muzzle Energy. As with the majority of PCP air rifles tested by HAM, both accuracy and power peaked with heavyweight lead pellets. This will be very satisfactory for the majority of those looking to make a Ataman BP17 air rifle their own.
In this case, the heavy H&N Baracuda Match pellets gave both the best accuracy and the highest Ft/Lbs on test.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||974.91 FPS||20.47 Ft/Lbs||OK.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||955.53 FPS||20.33 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||895.20 FPS||21.18 Ft/Lbs||OK.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||862.34 FPS||23.61 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||869.33 FPS||24.08 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||858.99 FPS||24.02 Ft/Lbs||OK.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||739.77 FPS||25.69 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
At 25 Yards, the BP17 tested by HAM gave a group with a CTC of .375-Inch x .400-Inch for 10 shots. HAM Publisher Stephen Archer was shooting. Although this was good shooting for him, he was adamant that Doug Rogers would have achieved a still tighter group!
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
It’s usually expected that bullpups will have a rather long trigger pull, or a “mushy” one, or that it will be heavy. But this is absolutely NOT the case with the BP17.
The trigger pull weight was a remarkable 8 Ounces. Yes, Zero Pounds eight ounces!
This pull weight is fine for target use and with an owner used to it. However it’s definitely waaaay too light for a hunting gun. It can also give a new owner a surprise or two until he or she becomes used to it.
Although this is a two-stage trigger, this extremely light pull weight means that the first stage could not be felt. The effect seemed just like a single stage hair trigger: very light with a sear release the moment the trigger blade was touched – or so it seemed.
By comparison, operating the sidelever cocking action is about average in effort required.
One outstanding feature of the Ataman BP17 air rifle is the position of the cocking lever. Many bullpups have the cocking lever waaay to the rear of the gun. In this case, it’s right at the front and actually ahead of the trigger.
Mounted on the left side by the factory, this cocking lever position is ideal for a right-handed shooter.
HAM Publisher Stephen Archer found that the cocking lever could be easily operated through contact with the big muscle below his thumb in the palm of his hand. He found no need to actually hold the cocking lever with his fingers. Operated in this way, cocking was very fast and easy.
But the cocking lever MUST be pushed all the way forward. If not, you’ll find that the pellet has been chambered but the gun will not fire. Remove the mag and fire that shot before going any further.
Remember, though, that – like most multi-shot air rifles – there is no double feed prevention system in this gun. So, if you cock it twice with the magazine in place, it WILL shoot two pellets at once (or possibly jam). The answer is simple: don’t do that!
It’s obvious from the design of the gun that Ataman intends the cocking lever to be operational from the right side as well. As HAM Tester Doug Rogers is left-handed, we were very interested in this option.
Indeed the company actually made and sent HAM a video showing how to make this change! This is just one example of the outstanding support Rustam at Ataman offers as back-up to the company’s products.
Looking at this video, the HAM team believes that – while a change of side for the cocking lever can be done – it’s really a professional job and not one for the average user.
Left-handers wanting to buy an Ataman BP17 air rifle should ask Pyramyd Air’s Tech department to make this change prior to shipping.
The safety is a push-across type and easy to engage. But don’t push it all the way out towards “fire”. In this case, the gun will not fire. It just needs to go far enough…
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The Ataman BP17 tested by HAM met, or exceeded the manufacturer’s specifications. Ataman’s specs call for a maximum Muzzle velocity of 840 FPS and a Muzzle Energy of 25 Ft/Lbs, both with 15.89 Grain pellets. As can be seen from the Consistency chart below, the gun tested by HAM was shooting exactly on the 840 FPS mark with the same pellets.
HAM achieved a maximum Muzzle Energy of 25.69 Ft/Lbs with 21.14 Grain Baracuda Match pellets.
The manufacturer’s specs claim 25 shots per fill. Again, the Consistency chart below shows that we obtained 35 consistent shots from a 300 Bar fill.
Consistency of the Ataman BP17 air rifle tested by HAM was extremely good.
The trigger pull weight varied by no more than 0.3 Ounces either side of the 8.4 Ounce average pull weight. That’s effectively zero variation in trigger pull!
Standard Deviation (the shot-to-shot variation in FPS across a string) also was minimal. The average was just 3.85 FPS across the complete line of standard HAM test pellets. This is outstanding!
The shot count of the gun tested by HAM was surprisingly long for such a small HPA tank of just 100 cc. As can be seen from the graph below, we obtained 35 consistent shots from a fill using 15.89 Grain JSB pellets.
It’s also extremely clear that the regulator operating pressure of 130 Bar ( 1,885 PSI) was reached directly after shot 35.
With its full-length shrouded barrel, the Ataman BP17 air rifle is very quiet to shoot. In fact, the HAM Team considers it to be as quiet as our “Gold Standard” for backyard-friendliness, the Benjamin Marauder.
There’s few other air rifles that can match this level of sound reduction…
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
As is expected with high-end PCP air rifles, the Ataman BP17 air rifle is supplied without a scope. This means that the choice of optic is wide open to the owner.
There’s a Weaver/Picatinny rail for scope mounting. But – as with most bullpups – you’re likely to need either very high rings, or a riser mount in order to achieve a satisfactory and comfortable shooting position.
And while – in theory – any scope will fit the BP17, it clearly benefits from a shorter scope rather than a longer one. At least from an aesthetic perspective. There’s not many air rifles where the objective of the scope is further forward than the muzzle!
Shootability is definitely a strong suit for the BP17. Its compact size means that it’s incredibly pointable. This is PCP air rifle with a full length (14.5 Inch) barrel and submachine gun handling characteristics!
The BP17 is easy to carry and come to the shoulder very naturally. The safety is perfectly-positioned for the trigger finger. This is one of the few airguns that seems to offer great ergonomics without the need for adjustable buttpads or stocks…
Loading the magazines is easy. The simple, non-enclosed design means that pellets are just pushed into place in any order. Yes, there’s only 7 shots per mag. In fact, it’s the same magazine as is used on the Ataman AP16 air pistol. That’s on the low side but this magazine was obviously chosen for its compact size in a very compact gun. It’s difficult to argue against that logic.
HAM Testers found that it was advisable to rotate the magazine just a little after loading into the breech. When a detent was felt, the magazine was positioned correctly for pellets to be chambered into the barrel as the bolt handle was closed.
In mitigation of the limited magazine capacity, the Ataman BP17 air rifle has a great feature. No less than four full magazines can be stored in the slots of the Picatinny scope mount. They simply push in and are held by detents.
Now the BP17 can be carried in the field with a maximum of 35 pellets on the gun. That’s 7 in the magazine in the breech, plus 28 in the mags stored in the scope rail. Again, a simple, compact and very satisfactory solution!
The wrap-around design of the BP19’s rear stock upper offers a comfortable cheek rest for both left-and right-handed shooters. This is an area where many bullpup designs fall short and Ataman has covered well.
Cheek comfort is a matter of real importance in achieving a comfortable, consistent – and therefore accurate – shooting stance with any rifle. Combined with the tactile black soft-touch coating of the wood stock, this stock design makes shooting the BP19 a pleasure, however cold the weather.
Left-handed HAM Tester Doug Rogers summed it all up in a pithy comment.”This gun is easy to shoot”, he wrote in his test notes.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
OK, let’s be clear. The HAM Team just loved the design of the Ataman BP17 air rifle! It’s one of the most attractive bullpups out there – in our opinion. Of course, that’s just our opinion, but HAM Publisher Stephen Archer has heard many others offer similar thoughts at trade shows.
The gun is almost entirely encased in its black, soft touch wood stock. The finish of this stock was flawless on the example tested by HAM. It looked and felt beautiful.
Finish on the few metal parts visible from the outside was also excellent.
BUYING AND OWNING
As a specialist air rifle towards the upper end of the price range, it’s no surprise that the Ataman BP17 air rifle is found primarily at dedicated Air Venturi dealers such as Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot. Air Venturi also provides parts and support in the USA.
The BP17 is supplied with a comprehensive range of accessories, including two magazine, multiple Allen wrenches, replacement O rings (for the fill probes) and two brass fill probes. One of these has a male quick disconnect on the other end, making it ideal for use with most user’s HPA filling systems.
The instruction manual is in English-only and is well-illustrated, including a full parts list and diagram. However, it’s very brief and does not cover operation of the safety, for example.
A one-year US warranty is provided through Air Venturi. Given that the Ataman BP17 is not a cheap air rifle, this is a surprisingly short period. Warranties of 3 or 5 years are now common, even on sub-$200 air rifles, making the BP17’s 12-month warranty look distinctly out-of-step with the market.
Filling with HPA is very easy: so long as you have enough pressure. The fill probe simply pushes into the gun from either side for charging.
The HPA pressure required for a complete fill is 300 Bar – 4,350 PSI – however. This requires some attention. As most HPA tanks have a maximum fill pressure of 4,500 PSI, this means that you are unlikely to achieve too many fills of the BP17 from your tank before it needs re-filling again.
Of course, the regulated action means that it’s not necessary to completely fill the gun with HPA every time. But if filled to a lower pressure, the result will be less full-power shots per fill.
To avoid the frustration that this brings, it’s probably best to fill this air rifle from a dedicated small HPA compressor such as the Air Venturi Nomad. That way you can fill to the 4,350 PSI limit time-after-time.
However, one very good point is that the pressure gauge of the Ataman BP17 air rifle is positioned deep in the underside of the stock. Although this requires somewhat deliberate observation due to its deep-set location, it does mean that – unlike many PCP air rifles – it’s NOT necessary to look down the barrel to check the pressure gauge. The HAM Team very much likes this for safety reasons!
There’s also a de-pressurizing capability built-in to the BP17. This is operated using an Allen key through the underside of the stock. This is another good safety feature.
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Ataman BP17 Soft-Touch .22 Air Rifle, Black
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Ataman BP17 PCP Air Rifle
This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.