I get this fine rifle from the British manufacturer BSA out for a shakedown. Spoiler alert; this gun shoots as great as it looks!
The BSA R 10 Mark II is a great looking bolt action PCP air rifle that comes to the shoulder quickly and mounts solidly. The two stage adjustable match grade trigger is crisp, breaking cleanly with minimal creep and very little over travel. You do need to remove the stock to adjust the trigger, but if you’re adjusting the trigger yourself removing a stock is a non-issue, and one done infrequently. The trigger blade is just broad enough to provide a great contact with the finger pad, but no extraneous material. The safety is easily deployed with the thumb of the shooting hand. The thumb shelf behind the receiver lets the shooter use a thumbs up hold if so desired, and is a detail I appreciate.
The stock is to my eye a thing of beauty, finely figured walnut, sharply cut checkering on the forestock and pistol grip, and ebony colored caps to both the forestock and pistol grip. The forestock is perfectly shaped and fitted around the removable 200cc bottle. I really like the cut-a-way butt piece of this rifle; it reduces weight and looks fast and sleek. To my way of thinking this is the prettiest bottle forward design I’ve ever seen. Enough wood to protect the bottle and make it look integrated into the design, rather than simply forced there out of necessity. The shrouded barrel is free floating, and the shroud effectively reduces the sound signature of the gun.
My rifle is a .177 generating just under 826 fps and about 16 fpe. The accuracy is very good, consistently achieving sub 1/2 “ 50 yard groups, and when conditions are right and I am up to it can do better. The gun fills to 230 BAR to a maximum pressure and is filled using a proprietary fill probe. The magazine in .177 is 10 round, and you get 5 clips (50 shots) per fill. The gun is regulated and the shot to shot consistency is very good, with virtually no shift in POI between first and last shot.
Even though I consider this rifle a modern beauty, it’s the performance that makes it a modern classic. The gun will provide sub 1/2″ groups all day long with a variety of different pellets. I used JSB Jumbo Exacts, H&N Baracuda Hunters, and Crosman Premiers. They all generated velocities in the low to mid 800 fpe range and about 16 fpe. Filling the gun to 230 psi I got fifty full power shots per fill. The power curve was interesting, the first 36 shots had a spread of 14 fps, then a jump up for the next shots (from 36 to 44) before it starts tracking back down. The consistency in those first three dozen shots were very very good.
I shot several 10 round 20 yard groups that were mostly around 1/4″, with several one hole 5 shot groups along the way. I put a prairie dog spinner at 50 yards and proceeded to hit it in the head 100 shots in a row off a bipod.
I’ve had the gun out on several squirrel hunts this year, and it’s been a great field rifle. It carries well, I can shoot it accurately from any position, and importantly it has been reliable under every condition. I’d moved away from shooting .177 in my PCP because I like the additional assurance of the added impact and larger wound channel. But as I’ve been hunting this rifle, not only has the rifle impressed me, so has the .177 all over again.
So what do I think about this gun? Obviously I’m a fan; its well designed, constructed with a critical eye on quality, it has proven reliable and robust slogging it out in the field with me. The performance has been very good, the accuracy out to 50 yards was truly out standing. This is one of those guns that I know if I do my job, the gun will do it’s every time. In terms of power it was a little lower than what I was expecting, I’d been told the gun was generating 20 fpe and I was getting about 16 fpe, though the gun had been shot before I got my hands on it and I don’t know if any adjustment/tuning/modification had been done to it. Having said this I have no problem at all with a 16 fpe .177, and think in a small game gun this is just about what you want.
Is there anything I don’t like? Well not in a major way: I prefer a sidelever rather than a bolt action, but have to say that the cycling of this gun is smooth and fast. The shroud is effective and drops the sound, but the gun could be quieter. I like a universal fast connect to fill the gun and the R10 uses a proprietary probe, but again this is more of an issue for the airgunner with several guns in their collection. But all things considered there is nothing that really diminishes this rifle in my eye…. next thing I want to try is this gun in .25 caliber!