Kral Puncher Armour PCP Air Rifle Test Review .22 Caliber
October 22, 2018
Supplied by Pyramyd Air.
Looks so cooool!
Accurate with the right pellet
Pressure gauge position
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Kral Puncher Armour PCP air rifle is a really polarizing air rifle. You’ll either love it or hate it! There’s no middle ground with this one.
Available in blue, green and black, the Kral Puncher Armour features a distinguishing “exoskeleton” that’s similar in concept to that seen on the Evanix Hunting Master PCP air rifle.
The Puncher Armour is selling at $569.99 at the time of this review, although that price could increase in future if the Turkish Lira continues its exchange rate slide against the US Dollar.
At this price, the Kral Puncher Armour competes against a number of Hatsan PCPs, together the many Kral models which are cheaper. The Benjamin Armada is only slightly more expensive and the regular Marauder somewhat cheaper. And then there’s the Air Force Talon at the same price…
So, the Kral Puncher Armour faces some tough competition in the market. But none of these other PCP air rifles LOOK anything like the Armour! That may be its strongest suit.
|HAM Test Rating||84%|
|Value For Money||Lots of value if you like the appearance.|
|Best For||Hunting small game.|
|Best Pellet Tested||JSB Jumbo Monster 25.39 Grain|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$569 + scope|
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Kral Puncher Armour, Blue
SPEED AND ACCURACY
There’s no doubt that the Kral Puncher Armour is a powerful air rifle in .22 caliber! The Muzzle Velocity peaked at 1102.85 FPS with H&N Field Trophy Green pellets. It also exceeded the 1,000 FPS barrier with RWS Hobby lead pellets.
These FPS numbers are high, but the more interesting result for most knowledgeable airgun shooters is the range of strong Muzzle Energies, peaking at 34.81 Ft/Lbs with the heaviest standard HAM test pellets – the H&N Baracudas.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||1091.52 FPS||25.66 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||1102.85 FPS||27.09 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||1021.45 FPS||27.57 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||981.17 FPS||30.57 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||981.87 FPS||30.72 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||972.23 FPS||30.77 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||861.13 FPS||34.81 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
However, accuracy was very variable. In HAM testing, it ranged from excellent back to very poor. It’s all down to the pellet.
Accuracy with the Kral Puncher Armour tested by HAM was frankly very disappointing with all the standard HAM test pellets except for the heavy Baracuda Match pellets.
This pellet-picky behavior is similar to that demonstrated by the Kral Puncher Mega in a previous HAM test.
But, because we know that Krals CAN be very accurate with the right pellets – and having seen a couple shoot well at the recent 2018 Extreme Benchrest competition – the HAM Team decided to try another heavy pellet. As you can see below, the JSB Jumbo Monsters shot really well in the Armour.
These test targets, HAM Tester Doug Rogers found real “one hole” accuracy at 10 Yards, together with a very low Standard Deviation (the variation in FPS among pellets in a string)…
So, he took this combination out to 25 Yards. Accuracy was excellent. Well, except for the one flyer called by Doug on shot 8. Don’t you just hate it when that happens???
So, for the Kral Puncher Armour tested by HAM, accuracy can be excellent with the right pellet. But that has to be a heavy pellet, in our experience.
Of course, that results in a very strong Muzzle Energy, making this gun ideal for hunting.
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
HAM Tester Doug Rogers commented in his test notes that this heavy trigger pull made it challenging to shoot good groups with the Kral Puncher Armour.
In fact, after the testing, he got busy stripping the gun to see how easy it would be to improve the trigger adjustment! “If this were my gun, I’d have to improve this trigger pull,” said Doug. “And I’m sure it can be done fairly easily!”
The Kral Puncher Armour is fitted with a 2-stage trigger. However, the gun tested by HAM certainly felt like it was a single stage unit. There was just about no perceptible first stage, just a long, drawn-out pull back through the heavy second stage.
The Kral owner’s manual does describe how to adjust the trigger for the adjustment of both first and second stages. Adjusting the second stage also changes sear engagement. In addition, there is a length adjustment capability built-into the rod linking the front and rear trigger assemblies – this rod being a standard part of most bullpups with mechanical triggers.
Cocking effort was not too high. But it was firm and quite even on both rearward and forward motions of the lever.
Although the shape of the cocking lever kept our fingers from slipping off during this test, we did have that experience with the similar lever on a previous Kral. Maybe the rear position was more suitable? It probably would benefit from a “field upgrade” of a length of rubber tube (or similar) to provide more secure purchase in wet conditions or with cold fingers.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
On their website and in printed documentation, Kral Arms – the Turkish manufacturer of the Puncher Armour – makes no performance claims at all for their products, even muzzle velocity! In fairness, this is probably due to the vast range of models produced by the company and the large number of versions required to meet individual country regulations for air rifle performance.
So, we’ll use the Muzzle Velocity claim of 975 FPS given on the Pyramyd Air website for the .22 caliber model.
It’s clear that the Kral Puncher Armour tested by HAM was significantly more powerful than the Pyramyd Air specs. In HAM testing, we achieved no less than 1021 FPS with light lead RWS Hobby pellets and still faster with alloys.
Pyramyd Air also claims a maximum of 40 shots per fill for the .177 and .22 caliber versions of the Kral Puncher Armour. As can be seen from the “shoot down” test chart below, the Kral Puncher Armour tested by HAM was still shooting at 832 FPS after 40 shots on full power. Does that constitute a fair claim?
Well, it’s possible that some shooters could regard that drop in muzzle velocity as acceptable. It’s also not unreasonable in comparison to the claims made for many other unregulated PCP air rifles.
There’s good news and bad news about the consistency of the trigger pull demonstrated by the Kral Puncher Armour tested by HAM…
The good news? It was extremely consistent.
The bad news? At an average of 5 Lbs 3 Oz, it was waaay too heavy!
Consistency levels for Muzzle Velocity varied considerably for different pellets. For the heavy pellets which proved most accurate, the Standard Deviation was very low – around 3 FPS. However, lighter – and less accurate – pellets had a consistently high SD of around 10 FPS.
As an unregulated PCP air rifle, it was no surprise to find the Muzzle Velocity dropping shot-by-shot.
In fact, as the chart above shows, this decline in FPS was actually quite consistent at about 4 FPS per shot. Typically, we take a difference of 40 FPS from the fastest shot to be the number pf consistent shots per fill. In this case, the Kral Puncher Armour requires re-filling after just 18 shots.
In the days of so many regulated PCP air rifles, this is a small number. However, it may be satisfactory for the hunters who will be attracted to the Kral Puncher Armour by its high power capability. Alternatively, some shooters may be able to tolerate the falling FPS further before needing to re-fill with High Pressure Air.
It should be noted that aftermarket regulators are available for Kral PCPs and this could obviously address the falling FPS issue.
OK, let’s make this one clear. The Kral Puncher Armour is LOUD!
The barrel is fitted with a shroud. However, it doesn’t seem to do much to tame the report of this highly individual air rifle.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
As expected, the Kral Puncher Armour is not bundled with a scope.
There’s a very long Picatinny rail along the top of the gun’s exoskeleton, then Kral also supplies an additional riser that clamps into place with two setscrews, as we can see below.
For the HAM tests, we mounted a Leapers UTG Accushot 8 – 32 x 56 scope to the gun. This large scope seemed to balance well on the Kral Puncher Armour for looks and handling.
It’s representative of the type of scope the HAM Team feels will be chosen by many owners for use with their Armour. But the whole ensemble makes a heavy gun that’s best suited to rested shooting or a very strong shooter.
As a left-handed shooter, HAM Tester Doug Rogers was pleased to find it remarkably comfortable to shoot the Kral Puncher Armour.
He found that removing the adjustable cheek piece worked best for his hold. But he disliked the cold feel of the metal frame on his cheek when shooting, however. Stephen Archer is a right-hander and found the cheek piece helped him to achieve a comfortable hold.
The forend has a short Picatinny rail on the underside. This can be used to attach a for hand grip – as shown in the photograph below – of a bipod. The bipod can also be used as a vertical forward grip if required.
Either way, you’re almost certain to make use of one of these forend supports to hold the Kral Puncher Armour . If you do so, handling and balance can be surprisingly good for such a heavy gun.
The safety is large and easy to engage. It’s located directly below the cocking lever. As for cycling that cocking lever, it’s the typical bullpup situation. If you’re used to a conventional rifle layout, it can seem very strange – but you become used to it with time.
Given the size and weight of the Kral Puncher Armour, the HAM Team did consider that the provision of sling swivels would be very useful if you plan to carry the gun for any distance. Without KeyMod slots, it’s not too clear how this could be accomplished, however, short of drilling and tapping holes for sling swivels in the exoskeleton. And that, of course, would invalidate the warranty…
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
As we mentioned at the start of this review, the appearance of the Kral Puncher Armour provokes an “all or nothing” reaction in the viewer. Either you’re going to love this gun’s looks – particularly in the radical blue color, or – well – you won’t!
Overall fit and finish of both metal and plastic parts of the Kral Puncher Armour are very satisfactory. HAM Tester Doug Rogers, who is a highly-skilled machinist by trade, noted: “finish of metal parts was good. Looks nice. Nothing cheap.”
The powder-coated metal cladding is finished in a practical, functional manner and the printing is clear. It’s folded from one piece of metal and – overall – fits well around the action. The blued parts that can be seen look to have good finish too.
Plastic parts seem well molded and there’s evidence of practical thinking, as can be seen with the spare magazine holder that’s included at the rear of the gun.
The characteristic cutouts in the sides of the exoskeleton certainly shout “unique”. However, had they been KeyMod slots, that would have transformed the utility of the Kral Puncher Armour, by allowing a vast array of accessories to be mounted on the gun. That was a clear opportunity missed by the gun’s designers in favor of style.
BUYING AND OWNING
At a time when mainstream air rifle manufacturers are moving to 3- and 5-year warranties, the Kral Puncher Armour is supported by just a traditional 12 month warranty. This is provided by Air Venturi in Cleveland for US customers. Air Venturi has parts and service technicians trained to provide after-sales support.
The user instruction manual for the Kral Puncher Armour is produced in the US by Air Venturi. It’s well-illustrated and clear, but is a generic booklet for all Kral models. Most owners will find it informative, although it’s in English only.
One concern the HAM Team has about the Kral Puncher Armour is the position of the pressure gauge. It always frightens us to look at a pressure gauge that’s mounted in the end of the HPA cylinder, particularly on short-barreled models.
The exoskeleton of the Kral Puncher Armour makes it even more difficult than usual to see the pressure gauge without having to look straight down the barrel – as you can see from the photograph below.
Rule Number One of safe shooting is “never point the gun at anyone” – as is prominently pointed-out in the user manual.
Yet you have to point the Kral Puncher Armour directly at your own face in order to see its pressure gauge! In the HAM Team’s opinion, this is a clear safety issue with the design and requires the user to be about one Zillion percent sure that the gun is unloaded with the safety engaged before checking the pressure!
On a more positive note, the Kral Puncher Armour is supplied complete with two rotary magazines and a single shot tray. As with everything about the Kral Puncher Armour, the magazines are oversized and contain 12 pellets in .22 caliber. (Magazine capacity is 14 shots in .177 caliber and 10 pellets in .25 cal.)
Also included is the brass fill probe. This has a screw thread connector and so will require most owners to purchase an additional adapter to connect to a standard female 1/8-Inch NPT quick disconnect, probably with some frustration. Fill probes supplied with some Chinese-manufactured PCP air rifles have a male quick disconnect fitting for the probe and this is a much superior solution for most users.
The Kral’s bipod closes down to form a vertical foregrip. This is an useful capability, but it’s rather a puzzle to understand how to open and close this folding bipod. It certainly took the HAM Team some time to figure it out – particularly as there’s no guidance in the user manual.
Finally, the Kral Puncher Armour is supplied in a hard plastic gun case. This is – in principal – a great idea. The case provides excellent protection for the gun during its multi-stage journey from the manufacturer to you.
But, sadly, the case is not big enough to hold the Kral Puncher Armour with a scope fitted. So, you’ll need to buy a large case of some sort if you want to protect and transport the gun with its scope mounted…
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Kral Puncher Armour, Blue
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.