BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review – The 2024 Re-Test

Overview

Testers: Doug Rogers, Stephen Archer

Caliber: 0.22 cal.

Model Number: R-10 Regulated

Test Date: Feb 7, 2024

Serial Numbers: RT220629-ZA

Source of Supply: Supplied by Airguns of Arizona

Condition: New

We Like

Beautiful

Excellent trigger

The price!

We Don't Like

Low shot count per fill

Left-side magazine loading

Owner’s manual

HAM RATING

  • Value for Money
    100%
  • Speed and Accuracy
    90%
  • Trigger and Cocking Effort
    90%
  • Comparison to Makers Claims:
    90%
  • Consistency
    80%
  • Noise Level
    100%
  • Sights
    100%
  • Shootability
    90%
  • Appearance and Finish
    100%
  • Buying and Owning
    80%

93%

HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS

The BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle is a traditionalist’s choice. It offers a beautiful wood and metal appearance, combined with “enough” power and shots per fill for most of us. It’s an air rifle to be shot, not tinkered with, or tuned. You just buy and shoot it.

True, it’s not trendy, tactical-looking or brimming with the latest, newest, “must have” adjustable features. However it’s an heirloom-grade classic that you can still buy today. And at a very attractive price!

So if you are looking for a beautiful, “old school” PCP air rifle, it’s great value and a HAM Gold Award winner. That price drop made a significant improvement in the HAM score, as you will read.

The more we shot this BSA R-10 SE, the more we liked it…

VALUE FOR MONEY

Hard Air Magazine reviewed the BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle back in August 2017. We liked it then and it earned a score of 88% on test.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

So why are we testing it again? Well, because now it’s about half price!

When we tested the R-10 in 2017, it was selling for $1,300. If we were to factor-in the inflation that’s happened between then and now, that price should be around $1,650.

But it’s not. Instead the base model is selling at Airguns of Arizona for just $800!

That’s a remarkable  52% saving against that $1,650 price that we might reasonably expect to pay. Even the fancy, thumbhole-stocked model we have here is selling at just $900. That’s 46% less than that $1,650 number and probably 50% less than the 2017 price.

True, there’s no option to change transfer port size, hammer spring tension or regulator setting from outside the gun. The R-10 is a straightforward air rifle that you just take out and shoot.

Power levels are relatively modest, too. In .25 caliber it’s 36 Ft/Lbs. 30 Ft/Lbs is the specification in .22 caliber. In .177, it’s 20 Ft/Lbs. But most of us don’t really need more.

All this makes the BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle interesting as a classic air rifle at a great price. It also makes it outstanding value for an heirloom-grade air rifle in 2024.

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BSA R10 SE Walnut HP Thumbhole

 

COMPARISON BETWEEN 2017 AND 2024 REVIEWS

The R-10s tested by HAM in 2017 and 2024 have the same basic action. The differences are that the 2024 gun has the thumbhole stock and larger (280 cc) HPA bottle.

As you can see here, it’s the combination of these relatively small changes, combined with the big price reduction that increased the score and brings it to Gold Award territory.

2024 Score2017 Score
Value For Money100%80%
Speed And Accuracy90%90%
Trigger And Cocking Effort90%90%
Comparison To Makers Claims90%80%
Consistency80%80%
Noise Level100%100%
Sights100%100%
Shootability90%80%
Appearance And Finish100%100%
Buying And Owning80%80%
Overall Score93%88%

 

SPEED AND ACCURACY

The BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle tested by HAM achieved a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 1,007 FPDS when shooting 10.3 Grain H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets. More importantly for most users, the Muzzle Energy peaked at 30.94 Ft/Lbs when using 25.39 Grain JSB Monster pellets.

PelletAverage Muzzle VelocityAverage Muzzle EnergyAccuracy
H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain1,007.86 FPS22.62 Ft/LbsPoor.
Predator GTO 11.75 Grain943.73 FPS23.24 Ft/LbsExcellent. Best Tested.
RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain930.99 FPS22.90 Ft/LbsGood.
Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain882.62 FPS24.74 Ft/LbsExcellent.
JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain894.48 FPS25.50 Ft/LbsExcellent.
H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain876.87 FPS25.03 Ft/LbsExcellent.
Datstate Howler Slugs 20.3 Grain779.21 FPS27.37 Ft/LbsVery Good.
H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain780.91 FPS28.63 Ft/LbsExcellent.
JSB Jumbo Monster 25.39 Grain740.83 FPS30.94 Ft/LbsExcellent. Best Tested.

Note that this maximum power level was almost identical to the gun we tested back in 2017, while the accuracy was better with most of the pellets in the HAM standard test suite.

As you can see, the Predator GTOs generated a genuine “one hole group” with both vertical and horizontal CTCs of ZERO. Yes, this is only at 10 Yards, however it is for a group of 10 shots and it’s never been achieved before. Bravo BSA (and great shooting, Doug Rogers).

The heavy Jumbo Monsters were only just behind that, so we shot 10-shot groups with both at 25 Yards to see how things shook-out at a more representative distance. You can see the targets below.

Again, they are very tough to separate!  Accuracy was clearly very good with both very light and very heavy pellets.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

Below. That one shot a little higher than the rest of the group could be a shooter-induced flier. But it’s not called as such. If it were, then the Monsters would seem to be a little more accurate than the GTOs at 25 Yards. But, it’s still a close-run thing…

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

 

TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT

As in the 2017 test, the trigger of the BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle tested by HAM was very pleasant.

Pull weight averaged 1 Lb 12 Oz. (The 2017 gun was 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 2017 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”. He still thinks the same today.

The BSA R-10 SE air rifle is now unique among PCPs in this price range for having a good, old-fashioned bolt action instead of a side-lever cocking system.

However, the R-10’s bolt action was easy and superbly smooth. In fact the bolt action of the test gun was a joy to operate! We’re going to upgrade our 2017 opinion and say that this is definitely the best bolt action that we’ve ever experienced on a PCP air rifle.

Yes, action is a little slower than using a side lever. But just take your time and enjoy it…

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

The bolt handle is set for right-handed operation. There’s not a simple, easy way to convert it for left-handed use.

The manual safety is easy to use. It’s conveniently positioned on the left side of the breech and clicks definitively into place. Again, very good.

 

COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS

In common with many “traditional” high-end air rifles, there are few claims made for the R-10. One is that it achieved “up to” 35 shots per fill. The BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle tested by HAM achieved 32 shots with an Extreme Spread of 40 FPS. So, close, but slightly low.

The Muzzle Energy specification given on the AoA website is “up to 30 Ft/Lbs” in .22 caliber. The test gun achieved 30.94 Ft/Lbs with 25.39 Grain JSB Jumbo Monsters. In other words, slightly above the claim.

 

CONSISTENCY

The BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle tested by HAM demonstrated excellent consistency in many areas. Accuracy was good with the majority of standard HAM test pellets, indicating an air rifle that is not “pellet picky”.

Then there was the very consistent trigger pull weight. That varied by just +/- 1 ounce around the 1 Lb 12.4 Oz average. For all practical purposes, that’s a completely consistent trigger pull!

Moreover, there was much consistency between the R-10 HAM tested in 2017 and the one tested in 2024. The trigger pull weight and Muzzle Energy were both practically the same for both guns. So BSA clearly has a very consistent manufacturing operation in place!

Then there’s the shot-to-shot variation in Muzzle Velocity. The Standard Deviation of the R-10 averages an excellent 2.84 FPS across the range of standard HAM pellets in Doug Rogers’ testing.

However, when tested with H&N Baracuda 15 pellets, the “shootdown test” shows fairly good consistency up to about shot 28, after which the FPS rises significantly.

The HAM Team’s conclusion from this test data is that the BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle tested by HAM has a hammer spring setting that’s a little on the heavy side. This causes the gradual clime in FPS to shot 28 and then the sudden “spike” and decline after that. Check out Bob Sterne’s HAM post on tuning regulated PCPs for details.

Doug Rogers was shooting either one or two 10-shot test targets between each fill. (That’s normal HAM practice). So his Standard Deviation numbers were achieved on the flattest portion of the shot curve.

In practice, the R-10 owner will give good shot-to-shot consistency so long as it is re-filled after every three magazines (30 shots) of use. Yes, other guns can exceed that – sometimes by a lot – but the HAM testers can accept that performance given the other benefits of the air rifle.

 

NOISE LEVEL

HAM Tester Doug Rogers’ notes read “Marauder quiet – again”.

So, the BSA R-10 SE PCP 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.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

 

SIGHTS AND SCOPE

The BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle provides old-style rails for scope mounting. None of that Picatinny multi-toothed stuff here! Given the lack of recoil, however, these 13 mm rails are perfectly satisfactory for solid scope mounting.

In addition, the R-10 offers 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 1/4-inches.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

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 is often required with other air rifles having a magazine that “breaks” the top of the breech.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

For this BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle test re-run, it was fitted with an MTC Optics Copperhead 4-16×44 F2 scope using Sportsmatch rings. So gun, scope and rings all come from British manufacturers!

Oh, and by the way. If you order the air rifle, scope and rings all together, AoA will mount and sight-in the scope at no extra charge, then pack it in an oversized card box with customized foam so that it reaches you in perfect condition. The company does not make this very clear on their web site, but it’s true!

 

SHOOTABILITY

At 43 1/2 Inches overall, this is a long air rifle.  The BSA R-10 SE 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 offhand, particularly when using a “hasty sling” as I like to do, attached using the built in sling swivel studs.

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.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

The thumbhole stock also includes an adjustable comb. Finished with a contrasting black “soft touch” surface, this not only looks good, it also provides an excellent cheek weld that feels good against the shooter’s face in use.

Doug Rogers commented in his test notes: “Love the stock. It fits me like a glove.” That’s extremely high praise from Doug!!!

The 10-shot magazines are easy to load and worked faultlessly throughout the HAM testing period. Sometimes they require a little “wriggle” when loading to engage correctly, but it’s not a big issue and we soon got used to it.

There’s a white “one shot remaining” indicator on the rear of the magazine. This is easy to see and a useful indicator of the forthcoming need to reload – at least for a right-handed shooter.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

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 or – possibly – using a smaller focusing wheel on the scope. It’s something to be aware of when configuring the BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle with a scope.

One shootability improvement that HAM Tester Doug Rogers noticed compared to 2017 was that the stock is now ambidextrous. As a left-hander, that’s a big improvement for him!

 

APPEARANCE AND FINISH

The HAM Team just loves the looks of the BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle. In fact, we love this thumbhole-stocked model even more than the version tested in 2017.

The overall design is long, sleek and – we think – stylish. 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 beautiful 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.

Typical of the attention to detail shown in the R-10 is the BSA-labeled pressure gauge and the turned metal plug for the fill port.

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.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

How many ways are there to say “beautiful”?

 

BUYING AND OWNING

The BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle is very much a specialist model and so is almost-inevitably an online purchase. But it is readily available from Airguns of Arizona.

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. That’s the same price as in 2017.

Plus, BSA includes a lock with the gun. This is the first time we have seen this with an air rifle. Well done BSA!

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. You can find it at AoA here. It’s $25.00.

Should you want a single-shot adapter, the BSA fitting is available in .177 and .22 calibers. These are also available at AoA for $49.99 each.

There are some downsides to owning the BSA R-10 SE, but they can all be overcome with experience. The problem is gaining that experience, because the owner’s manual is of little help. In 2017, HAM Tester Doug Rogers was blunt in his test notes. He wrote “This is one of the poorest manuals I have seen”.

But wait. For 2024, it’s even worse!!!

In fact the “user manual” supplied with the R-10 tested by HAM consists of a simple two-sided sheet of paper. We’ve seen better user manuals shipped with $35.00 BB pistols. Yes!

Here’s an example. One vital element about how to load the BSA R-10 SE PCP air rifle 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. Furthermore it’s not shown on the diagram of the gun in the instruction sheet because it’s on the opposite side.

Come on BSA, you can do better than this!!!

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

There’s a one year limited warranty with the gun. This is fulfilled in the USA by Airguns of Arizona if you buy the gun from them. If purchased elsewhere, Gamo fulfills warranty claims as BSA is part of the Gamo group.

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

 

TEST TARGETS

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

BSA R-10 SE PCP Air Rifle Review

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BSA R10 SE Walnut HP Thumbhole

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.