Thursday, May 9, 2019

Airforce Airguns - Is PCP Worth the Cost?

Airforce Airguns - Is PCP Worth the Cost?

A few years ago I wrote a few reviews on the Airforce Airguns and loved the features Airforce’s PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) line delivered, but what about from a start-up cost and long term perspective? Initially most shooters new to the premium side of airguns may be a little sticker shocked at both the initial price of any of the premium PCP guns and also all the required initial support equipment. I can assure shooters, the cost, accuracy, and convenience is worth it if you are an avid backyard, hunter, and airgun shooter.

QUICK REFILLS - With the the more typical springer (spring or gas spring piston) airguns, the shooters cocks the gun, drops in a pellet, shoots, and repeat the process. On PCP airguns, the gun is either filled with a special high pressure hand pump (which is a workout) or a quick scuba tank refill (about 2 seconds of stress free reflection on life), generally a lot of shots can be taken between refills and the shooter can just keep feeding pellets and shooting before going back for a refil. Shooting a PCP airgun like the Airforce lineup becomes more like just continually feeding a single shot firearm and less like a trip to the gym with enough arm movements from cocking to signal most aircraft. In a hunting situation, PCP airgun follow up shots are far more stealthy, faster and generally wildly more accurate. 

MULTISHOT - What I have enjoyed most is that I can shoot for fifty or so full power shots between refills, walk over to my scuba tank ($15 for a refill at my local scuba shop), connect the line, and in a few seconds I am ready to reshoot at full power. If I really am not that particular on power levels and just plinking or junk bird/rodent shooting, I can continue to shoot for a few hundred shots before refilling. The convenience of the refill with the scuba tank is really amazingly. For the larger calibers such as .25 to .50 pellets, more frequent refills are required to deliver appropriate power levels.

POWER FLEXIBILITY - The other big benefit is the adjustability of the pressure levels via Airforce’s on airgun power wheel which goes from neighbor friendly backyard shooting noise levels on setting 0 to power levels that are typically far outside the abilities of springer guns at level 10+. The on-board air cylinder can be charged to maximum for a lot of power and high number of shots or lower power levels if quieter shooting is prefered. The on-board power setting can also further tune that pressure as well. The versatility in power is one of the benefits of Pre-Charged Pneumatic airguns and one of my favorite capabilities. The TalonSS with a 1000 PSI charge on lowest setting is a bit quieter than you average Daisy Red Ryder BB gun while still delivering a enough pop from a .22 caliber pellet to drop rodents and junk birds within the confines of most yards. With a full power 3000 PSI charge, both guns have more than enough power for consistent 50-yard accuracy and the TalonSS delivers upwards of 25 ft/lbs of muzzle energy and the TalonP can deliver a whopping 55+ ft/lbs. These models are not even Airforce’s big bore high power hunting models which can deliver upwards of 500-ft/lbs of energy

ACCURACY - Many will argue that there are a host of super accurate airguns on the market, but the Airforce guns equipped with Lothar Walther barrels are just phenomenally accurate beyond what anyone would imagine. Single hole 25-yard groups are common and aspirin sized groups at 50-yards are typical once you find the ammo that works well for your selected power level. My favorite pellets for the TalonSS are .22 Predator PolyMag 16.0 gr and for the TalonP JSB Match Domed Diabolo Exact King .25 Cal, 25.39 Gr pellets. Though I have been a pellet gun shooter for over 40-years, I have never had as much fun with the precision shots I am able to deliver with either of these guns. 

COST VS FUNCTIONALITY VS QUALITY - The Base Airforce TalonSS (Suppressed) models are priced just under $700 and the TalonP (Suppressed) just under $500. Add in optics, mounts, universal fill adapter for a scuba tank and a scuba tank and the first time shooter has invested over $1200 in the initial setup. Airforce also has kits available which include everything except the air tank for just under $1000.

The initial setup of any PCP rifle will be more than spring piston but the above advantages deliver something a spring piston gun cannot. With that noted, nearly every PCP airgun I have handled and shot has been at the high end of quality and workmanship and the Airforce models have lead the pack in the US on quality since introduction. My blue anodized TalonSS is one of my prized guns. The other point is that these are not “just airguns”, because to safely handle, meter, and deliver pressures up to 3000 PSI, they have to be extremely high precision. The customer service also has to be exceptional and with the small problems I have experienced, Airforce has delivered great support.

This cost tier may not be for every shooter, however the Airforce airguns has been on the marketing since 1994 and provend both their exceptional quality and high reliability for a lifetime of use with very little maintenance or replacement parts. There is a payback model if you are trying to justify this in your head and for your wallet, but you have to look at the cost of similar accuracy delivering .22LR Rimfire round like Lapua Center-X which can exceed 20-cents a round. That payback model is 20-cents per .22LR round X 20 shots per day X 200 days a year shooting = about a two year payback for displacing .22LR shooting. I personally look at the investment from a perspective that I am able to shoot in my backyard any time I want without disturbing neighbors which is delivering me more time shooting.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON PCP AIRGUNS

I will on occasion pull out my pump and spring airguns typically to just recheck zeros, however once you start to shoot PCP airguns, you never want to go back. The power range adjustability, insane accuracy, quality, convenience, quick shooting, and zero recoil have all made my TalonSS and TalonP my go to airguns.

MY MODS
I initially purchase both the TalonSS and Talon P in the kits that included optics and fill accessories. The Condor and many other Airforce models are more powerful, however both of these models features suppressors which does make them quieter. The TalonSS being incredible quiet. There are a few modifications I have made along the way. Generally I shoot on a very low #3 power setting on my TalonSS with frequent 1000 PSI charges. This delivers a shot which is more than enough to drop junk birds and rodents in the backyard that is about as loud as a quit cough and the sound of the click on the trigger. The Airforce optics included in the kits are really very good but huge. I upgraded to a bit more clarity to Nikon Prostaff, EFR Target Rimfire 3-9 variable scope. I lost the multi-color reticle, and some power that the Airforce optics delivered, but I drastically decreased the overall optic size while drastically improving clarity and increased field of view across the magnification range.



No way around it, TalonP is freaking loud even with the integrated suppressor. With that pop comes a ton of power (55+ ft/lbs) that will match and potentially beat a .25ACP handgun round. I typically just leave this at power level #10 with a 2500 PSI charge with a 25-yard zero for larger nuisance rodents we have in our area. A single snap of the TalonP’s report is loud but not enough to get lights to start turning on in the neighborhood and is more than accurate and powerful to get the job done on the first shot. I added an option TalonP tank stock to give me a bit more comfort behind the scope. I found the original optic mounts a little high for the size of the TalonP and remounted the Airforce Optic with Nikon Medium Rimfire rings. A lower power optic was considered, however due to the precision accuracy, the original 3-9 power Airforce optic was retained.



On both guns I added a home-made 10-round adhesive back foam pellet holder on the left side of the gun. If there was one thing I would love to have is an auto feeder for the Airforce guns. This simple foam add on at least puts 10-rounds right at my fingertips for fast follow up shots and is an effective and secure pellet holder that I crafted from spare ½-inch foam.



Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Affordable Precision Riton RT-S MOD 7 5-25X56IR & Savage 110 Tactical 6.5 Creedmore Review

Affordable Precision Riton RT-S MOD 7 5-25X56IR & Savage 110 Tactical 6.5 Creedmore Review

Having owned several $3000-$5000 precision rifles, the quest for accuracy can be expensive. The goal of this build was a rig with fine precise accuracy with a price tag most shooters could afford. At full MSRP this complete ready to shoot setup is under $1800 including gun, optic, rings, and magazine and easily delivers sub-.5-inch 100-yard groups all day long. 

A very long time ago, I had an amazing long range shooter tell me that the secret to great long range shooting on a budget was to spend all your money on the optic, because if you could not see the target, your certainly would not hit it. He went on to note that what seperates good optics from great optics is the clarity at 500-1000 yards where lesser optics drastically fall off delivering detail at that distance. This is a perfect case in point where a great affordable very accurate Savage rifle is paired with a high tier Riton optic in an affordable solution that allows a reasonably prices option to jump into precision shooting. Savage does not offer this as a combo, but everything can be easily dropped in the cart at Cheaper Than Dirt.

Riton was founded in 2013 by Law Enforcement and Military Veteran, Brady Speth, and his wife, Carrie Speth with the simple goal of delivering quality and affordability to the optics industry with customer service as the biggest focus.

According to Brady Speth CEO Riton - “There are certainly great optics companies making great optics, but our frustration was that the optics industry as a whole really was not delivering the value, quality, and service without a big hefty price tag attached. The optics technology is already out there and is just getting better and better every year as we can see even in the quality even camera phones are able to produce, but prices are really not dropping in hunting sporting and military optics and we started to ask why.”

When you consider that nearly every optics company in the world from budget to premier optics all source from the same small number of manufacturers in Japan and China such as Nikkor for glass and assembly. The term “quality” has been extremely subjective and really comes down to quality control processes commitments of the company, marketing, and the profit the company is willing to make. “We just felt the higher-tier optics prices were really over inflated and saw an opportunity to deliver a premium tier optic at a mid-tier price point” noted Speth.


Riton optics designs the optics in Tucson AZ and leverage overseas manufacturing relationships where they can assure complete quality control. All Riton optics are Dry Nitrogen Purged and Sealed, feature premium Riton HD Glass, Riton (Multi-coated) Performance Coating, and rugged 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, CNC machined one piece tubes, Type III Hard Coat Anodized construction and quality control tested by Riton’s certified technician in Tucson, AZ. 

Handling the $1100 MSRP Riton RT-S MOD 7 5-25X56IR reviewed here, the 34mm tubed optic has the feel and durable heft of optics in the $1300-$1800 tier. This did not feel like just another $500 or $800 optic attempting to imitate the look of a $1500 optic without the specs to back it up. The optic is amazingly clear throughout the entire magnification range without any visible edge distortion, turret adjustments are consistent and defined and lockable with reference indicators, and the MRAD version delivered shots consistently after calibrating my ballistic calculator to this rifle and optic. The optics passed a simple box test and precisely returned to zero. For a sub $1000 optic the glass is phenomenally clear with a rugged durable construction what will certainly last a lifetime. The illumination is tuned for low light use and was appropriately dimmable at night and still visible if needed during daylight.


The intent of this build was to allow the $769 MSRP Savage 110 Tactical 6.5 Creedmore to achieve its precision potential which is well documented as a sub-MOA capable rifle with many shooters achieving sub-.3-inch 100-yard groups. The Savage 110 format is well known to be incredibly accurate and the 6.5 Creedmore adds to the precision with what many describe as an accuracy “cheater” round. The Creedmore rounds were designed to optimal accuracy and they certainly have proven themselves from nearly every gun chambering them. The Savage 110 in 6.5 CM delivered impressive sub-.5-inch groups for me 100-yard groups only a dozen rounds out of the box, however it was the the ability for me to easily hold 5-inch 500-yard groups which was due to the brilliantly clear Riton RT-S Mod 7 5-25x56IR. 

The optic was mounted simply with an available set of 34mm Tactical 6-screen Weaver rings which I believe were the weakest link and could be improved upon with a set of high quality precision Seekins or APA rings. My experience is that investment in precision matched rings will mechanically deliver a jump in accuracy and prevent failures in the field. I do also feel the Savage really could use a picatinny rail for a more substantial bipod attachment, however it certainly performed well without that feature for me.




The Savage and Riton both performed amazing for such an affordable precision rifle rig. Notably the Savage 110 is very well appointed considering its price. Savage’s “Accu” Stock, Trigger, and Fit systems all work very well. Savage also includes some nice out of the box features on this 110 Tactical like 10-round AICS Magpul compatible magazine well, tactical bolt knob, 20-MOA EGW rail, and is threaded for suppressor attachment. I easily attached my APD Suppressor which has shown to be one of my more accuracy improving .308 suppressors while delivering a more pleasant shooting experience. This Riton Savage setup an excellent combo for the shooter that want premium tier precision without sacrificing a house payment to do it.

Dry Argon Purged and Sealed
Utilizing Argon gas, the optic is purged and sealed to ensure superior performance in all weather conditions for the life of the optic.

Precision Quality Assurance
Every Riton product goes through a rigorous quality control process by a certified technician in Tucson, AZ. Each product you receive has undergone a thorough dual inspection process, being tested and inspected twice prior to making it to you.

Riton Advanced Turret System
The Riton Advanced Turret System incorporates push/pull locking turrets, as well as windage and elevation reference indicators for repeatable tracking and accuracy.

Riton HD/ED Glass
The Riton High Density (HD)/Extra Dispersion (ED) glass delivers 99.5% light transmission with extra low dispersion for an enhanced color spectrum. This high quality HD/ED glass provides optimal clarity and an improved sight picture.

Riton Performance Coating
Incorporating proprietary fully multi-coated lenses, all Riton optics feature low light enhancement, full wide band, anti-scratch and anti-reflective coatings for increased light transmission and overall lens performance.

Riton Rugged Construction
The Riton Rugged Construction incorporates the application of 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, CNC machined one piece tubes, and Type III Hard Coat Anodize.

Unlimited Lifetime Warranty
Gone are the days of two or three month optics repairs and harsh warranty requirements that are typical in the optics industry. Riton notes they have the industry’s best warranty on all of our products with an Unlimited Lifetime Warranty requiring no proof of purchase or registration. If you have an issue with a Riton optic, you send it back to Riton with an Warranty Claim Form and they replace it for you with a brand new product. You will not receive any repair or refurbished products from Riton and they are committed to sending out replacement product within 48 business hours.

DETAILED PRODUCT FEATURES:
Advanced Turret System with Push-Pull Locking/Zero Reset Turrets
Aircraft Grade Aluminum
100% Waterproof
Fog proof
Shockproof (tested up to 1200 G’s)
1/4 MOA or 1/10 MRAD Quick Windage and Elevation Adjustment
Fast-Focus Eyepiece
Assembled in EP-Level Clean Room
Magnification: 5-25
Parallax Adjustment: Side, 10-infinity yards
Tube Diameter: 34mm
Objective Lens Diameter: 56mm
Focal Lens Position: First Focal Plane
Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated, Full Wide Band, Waterproof Coated, Low Light Enhancement
Reticle: Riton Illuminated Mil-Dot Reticle
Field of View at 100 yds: 22.5ft @ 5x – 4.5ft @ 25x
Material: 6061-T6 Aircraft Grade Aluminum
Weight: 37oz/1049g
Length: 15.5in/393mm
Eye Relief: 3.9in/100mm
Exit Pupil: 12mm @ 5x - 2.3mm @ 25m
Click Value at 100 yds/mm: 1/4in/6.3mm – 0.1 MRAD
Adjustment Range: 73 MOA or 20 MRAD
Mounting Length: 6.7in/170mm
MSRP: $1099
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SPECS - 110 Tactical Desert - 6.5mm and 6mm Creedmore
AccuFit system lets shooters quickly adjust comb height and length-of-pull
User-adjustable AccuTrigger
AccuStock rail system secures the action three-dimensionally along its entire length
Detachable 10-round Magpul AICS magazine
Threaded heavy barrel with end cap
20 MOA EGW rail
Synthetic stock
Soft grip fore-end and pistol grip surfaces
Model 110 design and ergonomics
Tactical oversized bolt handle
MSRP $769.00
Action Bolt
Barrel Color Black
Barrel Finish Matte
Barrel Length 24"
Barrel Type BA
Bolt Release Type Side
Caliber 6.5 CREEDMOOR
Magazine Capacity 10 Rounds
Hand Right
Length of Pull In 12.75"-13.75"
Magazine Detachable Box Magazine
Overall Length 45.5"-46.5"
Rate of Twist 8
Receiver Color Black
Receiver Finish Matte
Receiver Material Carbon Steel
Type Centerfire
Stock Color Flat Dark Earth
Stock Finish Matte
Stock Material Synthetic
Stock Type Law Enforcement Beavertail
Threaded Barrel Yes
Weight Lb 8.87