BSA R-10 SE Air Rifle Test Review .22 Caliber
Testers: Doug Rogers, Stephen Archer
Model Number: 502554
Test Date: 4 July, 2017
Serial Numbers: RSE 221148-DE
Source of Supply: Supplied by Pyramyd Air.
Very accurate with the right pellets.
We Don't Like
Left-side magazine loading issue with sidewheel scopes.
Right-hand stock only in USA.
- Value for Money 80%
- Speed and Accuracy 90%
- Trigger and Cocking Effort 90%
- Comparison to Makers Claims:80%
- Consistency 80%
- Noise Level 100%
- Sights 100%
- Shootability 80%
- Appearance and Finish 100%
- Buying and Owning 80%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
The BSA R-10 SE air rifle is beautiful, hard-hitting and accurate with heavier pellets.
This is the individualist’s choice in a high end PCP. It’s If you’re a right-handed shooter who can match your scope choice to the left-side magazine loading, prefers a bolt action and doesn’t need a huge number of consistent shots, this could well be the gun for you!
In .22 caliber – as tested – the R-10 makes an excellent air rifle for hunting small game. In .177 cal it would be a great tool for Field Target competition.
The BSA R-10 SE air rifle easily justifies its solid HAM Silver Award.
VALUE FOR MONEY
At $1,299.99 – plus scope, rings and HPA charging equipment – the BSA R-10 SE air rifle is far from the bargain end of the airgun market. So this is a luxury purchase and expectations are high.
The feature set BSA has chosen to offer with the R-10 is quite different from other competitors in this price range. For example, on the plus side, we have the outstanding stock design and the long unbroken scope mounting rails. On the minus side, there’s no adjustable power settings and no sidelever cocking.
Further, in the US market, the gun is right-handed only, there’s no ambidextrous or left-handed version – although they do exist in the UK. Of course, if you’re a right-handed shooter, that’s not an issue…
So this is an individualist’s choice in a high-end PCP air rifle. But if you like the BSA R-10 SE air rifle, you’ll probably love it!
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BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle, Walnut Stock
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BSA R-10 SE Air Rifle
SPEED AND ACCURACY
The BSA R-10 SE air rifle tested by HAM produced a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 1,051 FPS with the light, Gamo Platinum alloy pellets. The highest Muzzle Velocity attained with lead was achieved – of course – with the 11.9 Grain RWS Hobby pellets. This was 972.4 FPS.
But, as is so often the case, the fastest pellets did not give very good accuracy with this gun.
Once heavier lead pellets of 14.3 Grains and above were fed to the BSA R-10 SE air rifle, accuracy suddenly became excellent! Best results were obtained using the 14.35 Grain JSB Jumbo Exact and 21.14 Grain H&N Baracuda Match pellets.
BSA has long promoted the accuracy of it’s in-house manufactured, cold hammer-forged barrels. It looks as if they like heavier pellets!
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||1,051.08 FPS||23.80 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||1,030.93 FPS||23.67 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||972.40 FPS||24.99 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||926.57 FPS||27.26 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||931.59 FPS||27.66 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||920.37 FPS||27.58 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||809.44 FPS||30.76 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
HAM Tester Doug Rogers shot a target at 25 Yards using the JSB pellets. He called one flyer out of ten on the target below. The remainder were in a very nice, “one hole” group. In his testing notes, Doug commented that he felt the accuracy limitation here was him, rather than the BSA R-10 SE air rifle: that’s a pretty good compliment!
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JSB Jumbo Exact Pellets .22 cal
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
The trigger of the BSA R-10 SE air rifle tested by HAM was very pleasant.
Pull weight averaged 1 Lb 15 Oz. There was a nice, crisp transition to the second stage and the release itself was also sharp and predictable. These characteristics were pleasant for the reviewers.
HAM Tester Doug Rogers wrote in his testing notes: “The first stage is a little long and cannot be adjusted, but I could get used to it. Everything else can be adjusted, the trigger blade can be adjusted for length, height and swiveled. I like it”, Doug concluded.
The BSA R-10 SE air rifle is unusual among PCPs in this price range for having a bolt action instead of a side-lever cocking system. There’s no doubt in the HAM Team’s minds that a side-lever action is generally smoother, easier and has a more sophisticated feel. However, the R-10’s bolt action was easy and smooth to operate. It’s almost certainly the best bolt action that we’ve experienced on a PCP air rifle.
The manual safety is easy to use. It’s conveniently positioned and clicks definitively into place. Again, very good.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The maximum Muzzle Velocity for the US-specification BSA R-10 SE air rifle is claimed to be 980 FPS with 11.75 Grain lead pellets. The example tested by HAM came very close indeed to matching this with 11.9 Grain pellets. So, it’s clear that the R-10 SE matches the manufacturer’s Muzzle Velocity claim.
The claimed maximum Muzzle Energy is 29 Ft/Lbs. The BSA R-10 SE air rifle tested by HAM easily exceeded this by producing 30.76 Ft/Lbs with heavy, 21.14 Grain, H&N Baracuda pellets.
Maximum shots per fill is claimed at 45 in .22 caliber. As can be seen from the shot count chart below, the BSA R-10 SE air rifle tested by HAM will, indeed achieve this if the shooter is content to see a drop in Muzzle Velocity of 70 FPS. However, this would definitely produce a fall in the point of impact at range and so would not be acceptable to most owners. The HAM Team would definitely re-fill the tank after 35 shots and so considers this to be the effective maximum number of shots per fill.
The trigger pull weight of the BSA R-10 SE air rifle tested by HAM was outstandingly consistent. The pull weights measured for this review varied by a maximum of plus or minus one Ounce. That’s perfect consistency for all practical purposes!
The Standard Deviation (shot-to-shot variation in FPS) in the 10-shot shooting test strings was also very low, at an average of just 4.33 FPS over the whole HAM pellet test suite. This is also outstanding performance!
The BSA R-10 SE air rifle is regulated. As a result of this, we would expect to see a horizontal, “straight line” shot curve for many shots which drops away after the regulator pressure is reached. Unfortunately the shot curve of the BSA R-10 SE air rifle tested by HAM did not exactly correspond to our expectations for regulator consistency.
As you can see from the shot curve below, Muzzle Velocity started off at a little under 920 FPS at the full, 3,365 PSI fill pressure and then climbed steadily to 940 FPS by shot 24. It then declined back to just under 920 FPS at shot 35, before falling-away steadily after that.
As always, this HAM shot count test was undertaken with JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain pellets.
This one’s easy! HAM Tester Doug Rogers notes read “Marauder quiet”.
So, the BSA R-10 SE air rifle matches HAM’s “gold standard” for quietness the Benjamin Marauder. It’s one of the very few air rifles to do this and marks the R-10 out as being very backyard-friendly. The built-in silencer is clearly doing its thing well, aided by the fact that even light alloy pellets will – just – keep under the speed of sound when fired from the R-10 in .22 caliber.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
As is expected from a high-end PCP, the BSA R-10 SE air rifle has no iron sights. The owner will, of course, use a scope and as none is bundled with the gun, there’s a huge choice available to suit. We fitted a Leapers UTG 4-16 x 40 AO scope, which balanced well on the gun.
The BSA R-10 SE air rifle does, however, offer a significant advantage over most other PCP air rifles when it comes to scope mounting. Because the magazine does not protrude above the top of the breech, the scope mounting rails offer a completely unbroken length of 7 3/8-inches.
This extremely-long unbroken mounting rail offers the maximum flexibility possible for positioning scope rings, and hence the scope, to match the user’s requirements. It also allows the scope to be mounted using lower rings than would be required with other air rifles having a magazine that “breaks” the top of the breech.
The position of the scope rings shown below would be impossible with most other PCP air rifles.
Having the scope as close as possible to the bore is a contributor to practical accuracy in the field and the BSA R-10 SE air rifle scores well for that.
At 43 1/2 Inches overall, this is a long air rifle. The BSA R-10 SE air rifle is also not light, our test rig weighed-in at 9 Lb 14 Oz, including the mounted scope. But it is very nicely balanced. The center of gravity is exactly where the forward hand grasps the stock, just where the checkering is located. This makes it easy and comfortable to shoot.
There’s also a comfortable and convenient rubber buttpad that’s adjustable vertically and horizontally. This is another great feature that’s not universally-available on competitive products and allows the gun to be tailored to the user’s physique. It makes the lack of an adjustable cheek-piece on the stock a non-issue for the HAM reviewers. Note that you’ll need a 5 mm hex wrench to make adjustments.
The 10-shot magazines are easy to load and worked faultlessly throughout the HAM testing period. The white “one shot remaining” indicator on the magazine is easy to see and a useful indicator of the forthcoming need to reload. As shown below.
However, the magazine loads from the left side and this may prove to be an issue for some buyers.
Why? Well, large focusing wheels are almost inevitably on the left side of the scope. This means that there’s a good chance that a “big wheel” will interfere with inserting the magazine into the breech.
Solutions to this issue include mounting a scope with front objective focusing, using a smaller focusing wheel on the scope, or even a non-circular Nautilus sidewheel as featured recently in HAM. It’s something to be aware of when configuring the BSA R-10 SE air rifle with a scope.
Finally, the BSA R-10 SE air rifle – as sold in the USA – is only available with a dedicated right-handed stock. Although ambi stocks are available in the UK, these don’t seem to have made it across the Atlantic!
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
How many ways are there to say “beautiful”?
The HAM Team just loves the looks of the BSA R-10 SE air rifle! The overall design is long and sleek. The Italian-manufactured Minelli stock is just gorgeous, with sensuous, flowing curves in all the right places. This is without doubt one of the most stylish stocks to grace any air rifle!
The forend of the stock and heel of the pistol grip are capped with contrasting color wood in a beautiful manner. The checkering is very nicely done and the grade 2 Walnut itself is very nice on the sample tested. There’s a BSA “piled arms” monogram laser-cut on either side of the butt.
Metalwork is also nicely-finished. There’s no visible machining marks and although several “blacks” are used to finish the metal, they match together well. There’s no deep rust-bluing to the metal finishes. Instead, there are practical, non-glossy finishes that will please the airgun hunter.
BUYING AND OWNING
The BSA R-10 SE air rifle is very much a specialist model and so is almost-inevitably an online purchase. But it is readily available from such well-known dealers as Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot.
It’s beneficial that the R-10 is supplied with an additional magazine (for a total of two). Additional mags are available at $49.99 each. A couple of spare O rings for the fill probe are included also. There’s also a nice metal plug that fits into the fill port to prevent ingress of unwanted dirt in use. But make sure you don’t loose it!
However, most users will need to add an adapter that allows the fill probe to be attached to a standard 1/8-inch NPT “Foster” quick-disconnect. This is not included with the gun and you’ll need to purchase one separately.
Another good, practical feature is the pair of sling swivel mounting point fixed to the stock. All hunters will appreciate this as it makes carrying the gun easier – and safer – for extended periods in the field.
And the HAM Team really likes the location of the pressure gauge. It’s ahead of the trigger guard and right next to the fill port. There’s no need to look down the barrel in order to check the pressure with the BSA R-10 SE air rifle!
There are some downsides to owning the BSA R-10 SE air rifle, but they can all be overcome with experience. The problem is gaining that experience, because the owner’s manual is of little help. HAM Tester Doug Rogers was blunt in his test notes. He wrote “This is one of the poorest manuals I have seen”.
Yes, the owner’s manual for the BSA R-10 SE air rifle covers the product in no less than 11 languages. However, it gives limited guidance to the newcomer, or anyone inexperienced with the gun. Some examples follow…
Example one. The HPA bottle is supplied separately in the packaging from the gun itself. It’s a detachable bottle, so we understand that. However, the owner’s manual gives no guidance on how to install the bottle. As the new owner will obviously need to do this to use the gun, that information should be given – if only for safety reasons. Yes, you can work it out: but at $1,300 why should you have to?
Example two. There’s a fair amount of detail included in the owner’s manual about how to load the BSA R-10 SE air rifle. However, one vital element is completely missing. There’s no mention of the catch that locks the magazine in place. If you don’t know about that catch, the magazine can’t be installed or removed. The fact that the magazine catch is not exactly close to the magazine, doesn’t help. And it’s not shown on the diagram of the gun in the owner’s manual because it’s on the opposite side. Duhhhh…
There’s a two year limited warranty with the gun. This is fulfilled in the USA by Gamo as BSA is part of the Gamo group.
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BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle, Walnut Stock
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BSA R-10 SE Air Rifle
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