Daystate Red Wolf Air Rifle Test Review .22 Caliber
Sept 17, 2022
Supplied by Airguns of Arizona
High scope placement
FPS could be more consistent
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Daystate Red Wolf is well-known as a top-level competitive air rifle that’s loved by many users. It’s available in calibers from .177 to .30 and with a variety of stock options. For this Red Wolf air rifle test review, HAM is testing one of the most popular combinations. It’s the .22 caliber High Power version with the stunning red laminate stock.
It’s no surprise to find that this Red Wolf air rifle test review supports the many competition-winning shooters who say that accuracy, beauty and the trigger are among the top attributes of this model.
So at a price of – currently – $2,899.00, is it good value?
Given the obvious quality and proven Extreme Benchrest-winning performance, HAM has to agree that the Red Wolf offers impressive value for the discerning shooter with deep pockets. If that’s you, you’re unlikely to be disappointed!
BUY FROM AIRGUNS OF ARIZONA
Daystate Red Wolf
MTC Optics Viper Pro 3-18 x 50 scope (Currently on special offer)
UTG Pro 30mm high mount P.O.I scope rings
SPEED AND ACCURACY
As with our HAM test review of the Daystate Delta Wolf, we tested the Red Wolf primarily with 25.39 Grain JSB Monster redesigned pellets. This is because the gun’s electronic programming is specifically set-up for these pellets and testing with the other standard HAM pellets makes no sense in this case.
Here’s what we found…
At 25 Yards, there’s a “one hole” group for 10 shots with a CTC of just 0.3 Inches and an average Muzzle Velocity of 1012 FPS. If the group could be better, we’ll need to bring in a better shooter!
At 50 Yards, the group opened-up a little, as expected.
It’s a shame about that one flier! We probably blame the shooter for that, but even including that wayward shot we have a group of under half an Inch CTC for 10 shots from unsorted pellets and with a scope magnification of a relatively low 18 X.
Given the current interest in slug shooting, we also included 20.3 Grain Daystate Holwer slugs in this Red Wolf air rifle test review.
As the following target shows, accuracy was almost identical to the JSB pellets at 25 Yards.
At 50 Yards, the Howlers opened-up a little. However they still demonstrated a very commendable 0.6-Inch CTC group. Again, this is excellent for 10 shots of unsorted slugs and 18X scope magnification.
Note that the slugs make a cleaner hole in the target card than the pellets. This makes the group appear looser than it would be with pellets.
So, the Red Wolf in this review can shoot both the chosen slugs and pellets with very similar accuracy.
For this Red Wolf air rifle test review, we – as always – shot the gun in “as received” condition. However Airguns of Arizona can provide a specialized ART Tune service to configure the Red Wolf for use with a specific pellet or other criteria required by the new owner.
It’s an additional cost service that can be ordered with the gun to customize it to your own individual requirements. Remember that the Red Wolf is a gun for the shooter, not the tinkerer. The ART service includes very complex and sophisticated re-programming of the gun. That’s best done by the experts at AoA!
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
The fact is that both trigger and cocking action are simply on a different planet compared to any other airgun HAM has ever tested. Well, except for the Daystate Delta Wolf, that is!
The trigger pull weight found in this Red Wolf air rifle test review averages just 5.0 Oz as received from the factory.
Yes, that’s 0 Lbs 5.0 Oz. It’s absolutely the lightest trigger pull weight we’ve ever recorded!
Apart from being incredibly light, the trigger has the most exquisite, “glass break” feel for the second stage. It feels like a perfect trigger yet – underneath – we’re really operating an electronic micro-switch through an extremely refined human interface.
Daystate provides setscrew adjustment for the first stage weight and travel. There’s similar adjustability for the second stage weight and contact. (Although the factory sternly warns against adjusting the second stage contact setting).
The HAM Team cannot imagine needing to adjust any of these trigger settings. However dedicated owners will probably take advantage of the built-in capability to move the trigger post back or forward. In addition, the trigger blade itself can be raised, lowered or rotated (canted) on the trigger post to accommodate the physique of the owner’s trigger finger.
If it feels like an electronic switch, that’s because it also is. That’s also what gives the Red Wolf the feeling of an ultra-fast “lock time”. There’s absolutely no perceptible lag time between the trigger being pulled and the gun firing.
The side lever cocking handle is again a complete delight to use. As there’s no conventional hammer spring to be compressed when operating the side lever, it has an amazingly light and crisp action.
Again it feels like operating a sophisticated electronic switch. However, this time it is a purely mechanical system.
Operating the side lever shifts the bolt back and forth, allowing the magazine to rotate to its next position and pushing a pellet into battery in the rear of the barrel. The cocking knob is easy to grasp and the mechanical travel feels like butter.
In fact, the effort to operate the cocking lever can easily be measured using a trigger pull gauge! The Red Wolf air rifle test review gun had an average backward pull weight of just 14.5 Oz for the side lever. Forward travel averaged 5.0 Oz of effort.
So here we have pull (and push) weights of the order expected for a fine trigger, yet this the sidelever cocking effort we’re talking about.
There’s no doubt that this is the lightest – and best-feeling – trigger and cocking action the HAM Team has ever tested!
The safety is located at the rear of the action and directly in front of the shooter’s face. So it’s truly ambidextrous. Function is clean, positive and crisp. Again, this has to be one of the best-feeling safeties out there. It’s set to safe in our photograph above.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The manufacturer claims a maximum Muzzle Energy of 65 Ft/Lbs for the Red Wolf High Power. This is substantiated by the factory test certificate that was shipped with the gun.
As you can see from the certificate below, the gun peaks at 64.9 Ft/Lbs when tested with 33.95 Grain JSB Beast pellets. (It’s interesting about that first shot. Wonder why it’s low? But it’s a rare example of honesty from any manufacturer to admit that…)
Airguns of Arizona ships-out the guns with settings for use with 25.39 Grain JSB Monster pellets, as these give optimum accuracy. Naturally, the Muzzle Energy when shooting these lighter pellets will be less.
In fact, this Red Wolf air rifle test review found a Muzzle Energy of 57.75 Ft/Lbs when shooting Jumbo Monsters. It was 50.66 Ft/Lbs for the lighter, 20.3 Grain Daystate Howler slugs.
For this Red Wolf air rifle test review shootdown test, we filled the the tank to 250 bar as indicated on our standard HPA tank’s gauge. We were then able to make 38 high power shots before the gun registered “Low Pressure”. (See the “Shootability” section of this review, below).
As the gun’s display registered 241 bar at that fill, we could have topped-off just a little and added about an additional 6 shots to that number. That would give about 44 consistent shots per fill. (With a 59 bar drop across 38 shots, the gun used for this Red Wolf air rifle test review was using around 1.55 bar – 22.5 PSI – per shot).
Overall, there’s a clear tendency for the Muzzle Velocity to gradually drop as the gun is shot – there’s no conventional regulator as such in the gun. However the decline is not significant (less than 40 FPS across the 38 shots) and is well controlled.
The Red Wolf is fitted with a fully-shrouded barrel. In addition, there’s a muzzle cap that can be removed from the shroud. Now – if required – an accessory airgun-only silencer can be added.
In HAM’s subjective testing for this Red Wolf air rifle test review, we found the sound level to be very well-controlled, even without a separate moderator.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
For this Red Wolf air rifle test review, we mounted a MTC Optics Viper Pro 3-18 x 50 scope. This 30mm tube scope has an airgun-friendly “Christmas Tree” reticle and focuses down to 10 Yards, making it a good match to the Red Wolf.
This is an interesting riflescope that has a particularly-sophisticated elevation turret. For Field Target competitors, a big sidewheel is available as an additional cost option for parallax correction/focusing.
Oh! It’s on sale right now for a great price at AoA…
A set of UTG Pro 30mm high mount P.O.I scope rings completed the rig, ready for testing. These are high quality rings that match the appearance and finish of both scope and rifle.
Note that you really are going to need high mount rings for the Red Wolf. This is because the magazine sits proud and high above the breech!
Unlike many current air rifles, the Red Wolf does not have a Picatinny Rail. Instead the breech is grooved for traditional airgun rails. Given the minimal recoil produced by this PCP, this is no problem. Also long range shooters will want to know that there’s no built-in droop compensation to this rail – it’s exactly horizontal.
However, if either of these issues is of concern, AoA stocks a Picatinny Rail Adapter with built-in 20MOA droop compensation. In this case, you’ll definitely be looking for low height rings.
That high-mounted scope could be a shootability issue if it were not for the stock’s adjustable buttpad and cheek piece. In particular, raising the cheekpiece makes it very easy to acquire a comfortable, repeatable shooting position. That – of course – is key to consistent, repeatable accuracy downrange.
If you remove the cheekpiece assembly from the stock, you’ll find additional adjustment capability in the underside. This allows the cheekpiece to be positioned further forward or back. Furthermore, a degree of lateral (left/right) positioning is also available by sliding the comb across on the mounting plate.
The photograph below shows this. That’s a view down onto the top of the stock at the top.
You’ll need 3mm, 4mm and 5 mm Allen (hex) wrenches to make these adjustments.
In addition, the rubber buttpad can be raised, lowered and adjusted for cast (swiveled left or right). Although HAM Testers did not find it necessary to adjust the standard buttpad configuration for this Red Wolf air rifle test review, it’s good to know that this is another option that helps the gun fit its owner.
In fact, the HAM Team found that consistent positioning of the gun was greatly aided by the use of an aftermarket Kraford and Lypt KLS-M adjustable buttplate. This is available from AoA and is definitely a worthwhile addition to the Red Wolf.
One observation the new user quickly makes about the Red Wolf is that there’s no conventional, mechanical pressure gauge.
Instead, the gun is filled using the pressure gauge on a HPA tank or compressor. However the fill pressure is indicated on the Red Wolf’s digital control panel. Above we see the pressure at 183 bar (2,654 PSI).
The other indications are that the gun is then set to “Mid Power” (one of three built-in power level settings). That S121 means that 121 shots have been taken in that session.
The photograph below shows the same gun configured in a different way for this Red Wolf air rifle test review…
Now the HPA pressure has fallen to 177 bar (2,567 PSI). As the gun is now set to high power (Hi), there’s an additional indication that the pressure is too low for full-power shooting and needs to be re-filled.
“M11” indicates that the gun has now been set to recognize that the magazine has been set to count down from 11 shots. Eleven is the number of shots in a full .22 caliber magazine. That number counts down as the gun is fired.
In this mode, the gun will not fire when the magazine is empty. It also vibrates four times to warn the shooter that he or she has no shots left. Very useful!
The Red Wolf uses the new-generation Daystate magazine that was introduced in 2020. This is an all-metal magazine that uses an internal rotary spring to impart the necessary motion to the drum when cocking.
Loading is achieved by raising the magazine’s loading gate cover and rotating the drum 360 degrees clockwise. The first pellet holds the drum in place as the remainder are dropped into the individual chambers. Snap the cover closed and you’re ready to go.
The magazine loading plate/cover is held in place by a small, high-strength magnet. The magazine itself is retained in its correct position in the breech by a a small, spring ball bearing. The magazine is loaded from the right side of the action – viewed from the rear.
That’s the Red Wolf’s single shot tray that you also see in the photograph below. It’s also retained in place by a couple of tiny magnets.
Many of us have concerns about electronics in our airguns. Primarily there’s two. There’s the weather issue: will my gun get wet and malfunction? The second is: do I have enough battery power?
As for waterproofing, Daystate has had electronics in their guns for many years. So the company has both experience and practical everyday test environment to develop a weatherproof airgun containing electronics that will keep on working.
The Delta Wolf is well weather-sealed. The LiPo battery is securely stored in the pistol grip. No, I’ve not taken the Red Wolf into a shower however I do not have any doubts about this!
As for battery capacity, Daystate says that it provides power for “many hundreds of shots”. Undoubtedly this is an area where “your mileage may vary”, but the gun is so easy to charge that it should not be a real issue.
Just plug the long, USB cable supplied by Daystate into your phone charger for a few hours before you go shooting. Leave it plugged-in overnight to recharge a really low battery level. We all do this naturally with our cellphones. So how hard can it be to do so with an air rifle?
Finally, for this section: weight. The complete rig used for this Red Wolf air rifle test review is 10 Lbs 9 Oz.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
If we could award the Daystate Red Wolf more than 100% in this category, we would!
As is expected from the company, finish was flawless in all respects. All metal parts were perfectly machined, polished and finished.
The same was true for the red/black Minelli laminated stock. This too was flawlessly finished.
Overall design is functional, yet beautiful.
Should you not like the red/black stock laminate, there’s also a blue/black laminated stock available. Should you not like the high gloss finish and want a grippy surface, there’s the “Safari” version.
If you prefer good, old-fashioned, high quality Walnut, Daystate has that available for the Red Wolf , too.
BUYING AND OWNING
As a product firmly positioned in the luxury end of the air rifle market, you’ll need to contact a specialist retailer to buy a Daystate Red Wolf. But it’s readily available from Airguns of Arizona and many Precision Airgun Distribution dealers across the USA.
The Red Wolf has a 5-year warranty that’s transferable to a second owner, should you sell the gun. US warranty coverage is provided by Precision Airgun Distribution in Arizona with their skilled and experienced specialists, backed by a wide range of spare parts.
The gun is filled using the built-in quick disconnect. This is accessed through the underside of the stock and uses an extra-long female quick disconnect that’s supplied with the gun. Ingress of junk into the quick disconnect is prevented by a clever cap that snaps into place using magnets.
The gun itself is supplied with factory test scertificate, an AoA test target and a high quality, beautifully-illustrated handbook that’s in English only. There’s also a USB charging cable and a number of other useful parts, including one magazine, the single shot tray and special, extended, female quick disconnect.
BUY FROM AIRGUNS OF ARIZONA
Daystate Red Wolf
MTC Optics Viper Pro 3-18 x 50 scope (Currently on special offer)
UTG Pro 30mm high mount P.O.I scope rings
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.